As with so many things, the Baby Boomer generation changed all that, asking questions, requesting alternative methods and seeking second opinions for confirmation of a diagnosis or treatment. But their parents often still subscribe to the old school methods, creating frustration for Boomers who are caring for aging parents and managing their quality of life.
If you have assumed the management of your parents’ health care, when making an appointment with their health care professional, inform the provider that you are your parent’s caregiver and will be attending the appointment. Ask them to ensure that adequate time is scheduled for questions, concerns and clarification of any instructions, if necessary.
Ask questions firmly but respectfully, making it clear that your role is not to be a nuisance but a partner in your parents’ health and well-being.
Tips for a better doctor-patient-adult child-caregiver relationship:
- Write down questions or concerns before you visit. Better yet, if you have a pressing concern, let the office know when you schedule the appointment.
- Carry copies of your parents’ insurance and appropriate legal paperwork with you, and make sure the provider has these on file. The doctor may not speak to you about sensitive health concerns unless you have been legally designated in your parents’ health care directives.
- Ask for a copy of medical tests and results, medications, and any treatment guidelines.
- Let the doctor know about any allergies, sensitivities or adverse reactions you have noticed in regard to medications, foods, even latex gloves. Also, inform the doctor about any sudden changes in your parents’ habits, mood or diet.
- Ask for estimated time frames in regard to test results, expected response to treatments, etc., and let the doctor know if these are not met.
- If you are to administer medications or assist with other medically necessary tasks, ask the doctor for clarification if necessary, and be sure to request a list of possible side-effects.
- Don’t hesitate to call the office if you have a question, concern or notice an unexpected reaction or change in your parents’ condition.
Although you have your parents’ best interest at heart, assume that their doctor does as well.
Medical professionals are busy – but so are you, as you manage your career, children and aging parents. If your parents’ doctor is too busy for questions, or seems bothered by your involvement in their care, it may be time to look for a new care provider.