Establishing a good relationship with your doctor can ensure that you get the senior healthcare that you deserve.
You and your doctor are a team that works together to keep you living well into the future, and, just like any other partnership, your relationship with your doctor requires clear and open communication to be successful. Asking questions can be a good way to establish honest communication. When you ask questions, you are showing your doctor that you are committed to working with him toward a healthier senior lifestyle.
The next time you visit your senior healthcare provider, consider asking some of these questions whenever appropriate:
1. Ask about diagnoses.
Learning more about your condition gives you the power you need to take an active role in your own healthcare.
How did you reach this diagnosis?
Your doctor makes diagnoses based on your symptoms, his own examination, medical tests, and lab work. Ask what results—from physical examination or other tests—led to the diagnosis.
The more you know about your medical issues, the more active of a role you can take in your own health. Knowing more about how and why your doctor has diagnosed you with certain health problems can help you take charge of your health.
What may have caused this condition?
Once you and your doctor know what may be causing your health issues, you can work together to implement a plan that addresses these underlying concerns.
How can this condition be treated or managed?
You need to know how directly your senior living will be affected. Some conditions, like diabetes or heart disease, require extreme changes in lifestyle—from what foods you can eat to what activities you participate in on a regular basis.
A better understanding of your health problem can help you make decisions about the steps you need to take to manage your condition.
2. Ask about medications.
Knowing more about your medications can help you avoid unwanted side effects or other potential health risks.
How should I take my medication?
Medications, both over-the-counter and prescription, are required to have general usage directions on the label. Talking to your doctor about your medications can tailor these instructions to fit within your diet or habits and to avoid adverse reactions with other medications you may already be taking.
You need to know if there are any activities, foods, or medicines that will react badly with new prescriptions.
What are the possible side effects of this medication?
Part of taking control of your senior healthcare is being aware of issues that may arise during the treatment of symptoms or chronic conditions, and sometimes medicines can cause unexpected or adverse reactions, especially when you are taking more than one medication.
You need to be aware of how medicines can affect you and how to deal with those side effects.
3. Ask about tests and procedures.
Getting surgery or having tests done can be a confusing, overwhelming, and sometimes scary process. Asking questions can help address any concerns or apprehensions you may have.
Why do I need this test or procedure?
There are different reasons why you may need a medical test—they can help diagnose problems, reveal more about your health condition, or even serve as a preventative measure— so ask your doctor what he is attempting to discover or accomplish with a procedure. This knowledge can help you decide whether you wish to proceed.
How can I pay for this procedure?
Before you schedule a surgery or medical test, find out what methods of payment are available to you. Knowing whether or not Medicare, Medicaid, or your health insurance will cover the cost of the procedure may affect how you chose to proceed.
What do I need to do to prepare?
Many surgeries and a number of tests common in senior healthcare, like the FPG test for diabetes, require you to go without eating or drinking for several hours before the procedure. Asking what steps you need to take prior to the procedure ensures that you are prepared when you arrive at the hospital or doctor’s office.
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