How to Communicate Best with a Primary Physician
Maintaining an open and honest relationship with a doctor is one of the most important factors to healthy aging. As with any relationship, an appropriate amount of time must be spent communicating in order to achieve the most benefit.
For seniors, it is especially important to cultivate a relationship with their primary caregiver. Recent studies suggest that a complete physical examination may not be necessary every year. Requesting extra time when an appointment is made, however, can allow for a conversation on preventive screening practices and what may or may not be appropriate depending on the patient's unique medical and family history as well as associated health risks. In addition, a more extended visit allows for better communication between the doctor and patient regarding the social and emotional issues that can affect an older adult's health and quality of life.
As people age, care normally doesn't involve only one doctor. Therefore, patients should visualize their primary physician as the center of the wheel, with spokes reaching out to other caregivers and specialists. A primary physician oversees the efforts of others, including reports, treatments, and medications. As can be seen, the primary physician focuses on a patient's overall well-being.
"Taking a proactive and responsible approach with primary physicians will help ensure a patient's welfare and assist in avoiding potentially harmful issues," said Dr. Kevin O'Neil, Optimum Life® Medical Director for Brookdale Senior Living.
During an appointment, effective communication between the patient and his or her doctor is crucial. When communicating effectively, seniors maintain the most control of their health and well-being.
When meeting with a doctor for the first time, patients will need to establish a history of past issues and medications, as well as current medicines and concerns. It may be wise to prepare a document beforehand, so the doctor can keep it with the files and reference it at any time. Some items to include in this document are surgeries, major illnesses or injuries that required hospitalization, current medications (including over-the-counter vitamins and herbs), allergies and personal information such as smoking and drinking habits, activity level, special diet needs, and family history.
Once with the doctor, be sure to state the concern of highest priority first, so the doctor understands its importance, and can dedicate the most time to it. Be honest about symptoms and what is most bothersome, and always be as specific as possible.
Once the doctor addresses the situation, patients must be sure they understand the information correctly. Understanding the issues can help overcome them.
With good communication, primary physicians can help patients achieve their health-related goals. Be sure to utilize effective communication tactics when meeting with him or her to ensure all the goals are on track.
This article is provided by Brookdale Senior Living communities offering nine locations in the Houston area. Brookdale residents may move from Independent Living to Assisted Living with progressive levels of care as needs evolve.
Additional information is available at http://www.brookdaleliving.com/ or by calling 281-793-6666 or 281-507-4835 to arrange a personal visit.