Sunday, November 19, 2017

Is it the Doctor’s Fault or Yours? Communication

By Carrie Vittitoe

Whether you are caregiver to a child, an aging parent, or a spouse, it can be a difficult job. Few things are more frustrating than when a loved one is sick or in pain. During those times, we want to access medical care as quickly and easily as possible. Fortunately, new technologies and some tried-and-true caregiver experience can help pave the way for faster and better medical care for your loved one.

“It is best to take someone along (to the appointment) to record for you. It’s important to always have a list of questions, preferably prioritized in the order of importance.” — Deborah Tuggle (clinical care nurse specialist)

While My Norton Chart gives patients the chance to access their medical notes and email questions if they think of them after the appointment, it is far more efficient and reassuring to get accurate and complete information during the visit with a doctor or nurse practitioner.

It is important to ask specific questions. “Questions should include where to find information and what is the worst thing that would happen if I do nothing. So often the answer is surprisingly refreshing!” says Tuggle.

Most states allow patients to record doctor visits, but it is in everyone’s best interest if the patient asks permission first. I have found that to be extremely useful on initial visits when there is so much new information to be reviewed,” says Heins.

In some cases, it may be necessary to switch physicians if the communication isn’t up to par. Lucy Martin, IT manager at United Parcel Service, Inc. says, “I think the most important thing is to have the right doctor. I accompanied my mother to her primary care physician for a year before insisting that she change doctors. Her previous doctor was annoyed by my questions and even asked if I would not attend! They preferred to listen to her heart and provide the same prescriptions without really talking about my mother’s health or quality of life. I found a doctor that specializes in adult care, with an emphasis on seniors. Everything changed.”

Here are a couple of ideas you can try for eliminating your wait time at the doctor's office.

Illustration by Silvia Cabib 

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