It’s better to be over prepared than underprepared when seniors meet with a new doctor for the first time. You can make the most of your doctor appointment by bringing things like previous medical records and a list of current medications. Here are 6 things seniors should always bring when meeting with a new doctor.
#1. A list of all current medications
There’s no need to bring a bag of pills to your doctor appointment, instead jot down all the medications you currently take along with dosages. Also, add to the list any medications you are allergic to. This gives your new doctor a much better overview of current health and helps him/her prescribe additional medications or implement new treatment ideas. Without a full list of medications, your doctor may end up with their hands tied, unable to do much until they find out what medications you are taking.
#2. Bring previous medical records
If you have access to previous medical records, bring them along to your appointment. Otherwise, bring your current or former primary care doctor’s information (phone number, name, address, etc.) so that your new doctor can contact their office and get medical info as needed. This is especially important if you have moved and no longer live in the same city or state as your former doctor. Your new doctor will need you to sign a medical release form to gain permission to access your records.
Seamless online medical records easily transferred from one doctor to the next are the future, but not all offices have integrated policies like this just yet. It might take a little more work on your behalf to get your new doc up to speed on your health, but it’s worth it. The easiest way to do so is to get a copy of your previous medical records for your new doctor’s files.
#3. Any recent scans, x-rays, etc.
If you’ve undergone any recent CT scans, X-rays, etc., bring along the disks with images in case your new doctor needs to check them out. Sometimes a seemingly unrelated pain or issue could link back to something unexpected. That’s why it’s important to put it all on the table, no matter if you think it’s related or not.
#4. Consider bringing a family member along
It can be rather helpful to bring a close friend or family member to a new doctor appointment. Let them know ahead of time why you want to bring them and what you hope to get out of the appointment to help them better prepare. Your pal can help you remember everything you wanted to ask and accomplish at your appointment, they can also keep track of things discussed with your doctor. You could even ask them to take notes throughout the appointment.
#5. A tape recorder can help too
If you don’t have a buddy to bring, take a tape recorder instead. Before turning it on, ask your new doctor for permission to record your appointment—in most cases doctors should agree without issue. This provides a detailed record of everything the doctor says, giving you a way to go back to the conversation later. Say for instance, your daughter wants to know what the doctor had to say about your swollen toes, you’ve got the entire conversation recorded on your device.
#6. Never forget to bring 100% honesty
This is perhaps one of the most important things to bring to every doctor appointment, not just an appointment with a new doctor. Tell your doctor anything and everything, even if it’s something you’re not proud of, say for instance you smoke 5 cigarettes a day or never exercise. Doctors hear it all and they’d rather hear the truth than a lie so they can identify the best course of treatment.
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