How much empowerment does your loved one feel in regards to her medical care? Does she feel at ease enough with her elderly health care attendant as well as with her doctor to voice her opinion and ask all her questions? It’s one thing to be able to list the complaints about how she’s feeling, but does she feel confident enough to question the doctor’s treatment plan or seek a second opinion if she has doubts?
When it comes to her medical care, no problem should be considered trivial; no question should be left unanswered. If she questions the doctor’s treatment recommendations, she should speak up. If you have doubts that your loved one is advocating for herself when it comes to health decisions, she needs a trusted loved one to go to every doctor visit and advocate for her.
What are some of the questions that could be/should be asked in the doctor’s office?
- Can you explain to me how you reached the decision for this treatment?
- If you were in my shoes and had this condition, what would you do?
- How soon do I need to be seen again?
- Are there any tests that need to be scheduled?
- What results are expected?
- What happens next?
- Who do I call if I have questions before I see you next?
Is there a need for a second opinion? Do you feel like you need to verify a diagnosis or a treatment plan? Possibly you want some different options than what you’ve been given? It could be time to seek a second opinion.
Tips on seeking a second opinion:
- Don’t tell the second doctor anything about a previous diagnosis. Let him come to his own conclusion without being biased by what your previous doctor has found. Let him decide on his own. This will give you a better comparison between the two diagnoses.
- Go to a different institution. Instead of consulting another doctor which happens to be in the same department, go somewhere else to get a fresh opinion. If one institution shares individuals’ files, your information from the first diagnosis would be available to any doctor in the same department. Additionally, institutions may have their own standards on how they treat particular conditions. Your second opinion treatment plan may not be any different from the first. There could be new research going on which recommends different treatments than what one institution has adopted as their preferred treatment plan.
See a specialist when necessary.
- If you have a chronic condition that warrants a specialist, your primary care doctor will usually give you the necessary referral. Sometimes these specialists are difficult to see because their schedules are booked solid.
- Go prepared so you can make the best use out of the appointment time as possible. Bring a folder of all pertinent information including insurance, lab results if you have access, allergies to medication, past major medical problems, list of all medications you are taking as well as dosages, etc.
Keep in touch with your primary care doctor, so he knows what’s going on. He has the best picture of your overall health, even if part of it is being handled by a specialist.
For more information about elder care in St. Louis, MO contact Senior Services Unlimited. We are an elder care agency providing affordable and respectful home care to couples, veterans, and the disabled. call (314) 646-8131
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