How to Build a Relationship with a Parent's Primary Care Doctor

  • November 22, 2018

If you are the primary caregiver for an older loved one, your days are likely busy. In addition to assisting with personal care, household chores, bill paying, grocery shopping, and meal preparation, you are probably the keeper of the senior’s health care appointments. That is an important task that requires good organizational and communications skills. 

It isn’t uncommon for seniors and their caregivers to feel a little intimidated or overwhelmed during physician appointments. The offices are busy and everyone always seems to be in a rush. You might not feel like you have an opportunity to have all of your questions and concerns addressed. 

The key lies in making sure you’ve chosen a physician who is comfortable working with older adults and to work on building a relationship with them. Here are a few tips for doing that.

5 Tips for Building a Relationship with a Senior Loved One’s Physician

1. Organize and maintain a medical file with all of your loved one’s information

There can be an overwhelming amount of paperwork and information associated with managing a senior’s health care. Getting it organized and keeping it organized can be a challenge. But doing so will make it easier for you to ask questions and refer to notes during your family member’s appointments. Your loved one’s physician will appreciate your efforts.

2. Keep an appointment and symptoms calendar

It’s important to manage your loved one’s appointment calendar efficiently.Note upcoming appointments on the calendar, along with any blood work or testing that must be done prior to the appointment. 

Also add any unusual symptoms or changes in health on the calendar. You might also want to note what was occurring prior to the symptoms. For example, did the senior have tough time sleeping the night before? Did something traumatic happen to the family that day? This type of information may help the physician figure out what is going on.

3. Make time to prepare for the physician appointment

As your family member’s caregiver, you have firsthand knowledge of what they struggle with day in and day out. That’s important insight for a physician who might only see them a few times each year. 

Before each of your loved one’s appointments, make time to review the notes you documented on the calendar and write down any trends or concerns you have.  You’ll feel more confident you are getting to the bottom of things when you can quickly relay your list of concerns to the physician.

4. Don’t be afraid to ask questions

When you witness the hustle and bustle of a physician’s office, you might be hesitant to ask too many questions. Remind yourself that addressing small concerns before they become big ones should be your goal and the physician’s. 

If you are well-prepared for the visit, asking questions for clarification won’t take that much time. But if you feel like the physician is annoyed by your questions or won’t take time to answer them, it’s probably time to begin the search for a new doctor. It’s the only way to make sure your senior family member is getting the best quality care.

5. Document everything

It’s vital that you take good notes and document items that need follow up. If your loved one’s doctor provides visit notes at the time you check out, make sure to review those after you are home. This is the best way to stay organized so you don’t overlook something important.

If you decide it’s necessary to find a new physician for your senior loved one, we have a few tips to help you in your search. Read “How to Find a New Primary Care Doctor for a Senior Loved One” to get started.


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