Communicating With Your Doctor
As we get older, doctor visits often increase and begin to be a regular part of life. Whether seeking treatment for a chronic health condition or simply getting regular checkups, these visits are important for maintaining both our present and future health and maintaining the lifestyle we enjoy. In order to protect your health and to get the most out of your medical care, it is important to know how and what to communicate with your doctor at each visit. Our health is our most valuable asset. Whether you are on Medicaid or get long term nursing care, you can help protect your health and other assets by planning for doctors’ appointments and by learning better ways to communicate problems and concerns to medical care providers.
Planning Your Doctor Visit
According to the National Institutes of Health (NIH), communicating with your doctor is a key element in getting good healthcare. While doctors generally take the lead with patients, it is important to see your relationship with your care providers as more of a partnership, with each of you contributing to your care and the management of any health conditions. Before your doctor visit, make a list of any symptoms or problems you are currently experiencing. Be specific, and provide answers to the following questions:
- What are your symptoms?
- When did they start?
- How long do these symptoms last?
- Do they occur at a particular time of day?
- Is there anything that makes your symptoms better or worse?
- Is there anything your symptoms are keeping you from doing?
In addition, the NIH recommends being prepared to discuss your everyday habits, such as sleep, diet, and exercise, as well as any other medical conditions you are being treated for.
Preventing Medication Errors
In addition to the above, you want to be thoroughly prepared to discuss with your doctor any types of medications or herbal supplements you may be taking. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), adverse drug events have become a national problem and public health concern. Every year nearly 120,000 people require hospitalization as the result of side effects, overdoses, and adverse drug interactions, and people aged 65 and older are seven times as likely to be admitted for care under these circumstances than other age groups. Any medicine or supplement you are taking should be discussed with your doctor, and the following types of medicines require particular caution, attention and testing:
- Blood thinners, such as warfarin;
- Heart medicines, such as digoxin;
- Diabetes medications, such as insulin; and
- Seizure medications, such phenytoin and carbamazepine.
Contact Our Experienced Elder Law Attorneys
At Cavallo & Cavallo, our experienced New York elder law, Medicaid, and estate planning attorneys know what an important asset your health is. Protect yourself and your medical well-being while we protect your other assets. With offices in the Bronx and Westchester, we are your neighborhood law firm, providing efficient, effective legal representation to handle all your legal needs. Contact us today for a free consultation.