6 Ways To Make The Most Out Of Your Next Doctor’s Appointment

Scheduling regular doctor’s appointments is crucial to maintaining your health. Even more important is knowing how to maximize your appointments to gain the most benefits from your physicians’ expertise. Certified Professional Geriatric Care Manager Lisa Bayer of LMR Elder Care provides the following tips on making the most of your appointments. “These suggestions apply to everyone, including caregivers, but in particular to older adults who may have physical and/or cognitive deficits that prevent them from advocating for themselves,” said Bayer.

  1. Seek out specialists for diagnosis and treatment of symptoms and conditions. “I am always wary when a person is being treated for Alzheimer’s or Parkinson’s disease but has never seen a neurologist,” Bayer explained.
  2. Confirm that your specialist accepts your insurance and that you do not need a referral. “I have seen clients who went so far as to have procedures done only to be told after the fact that the test is not covered or the facility does not participate in their insurance plan,” stated Bayer. “This is particularly true with certain Medicare Advantage plans.”
  3. Be prepared. Make sure you always keep (and bring to your appointments) a list of all of your physicians and medications as well as copies of recent test results. “This will help avoid wasted expense and time as well as exposure (such as with an x-ray) of repeat and unnecessary testing. It will also help keep your internist and specialists in the loop,” said Bayer.
  4. Ask to see your chart before each appointment. “This helps you remain an informed patient and advocate. Don’t be afraid to point out discrepancies to your provider,” Bayer advised.
  5. Arrive to appointments early and with a prepared list of questions for your provider. “I always recommend bringing along a family member, friend or Geriatric Care Manager as well,” Bayer said. “This person can help take notes, ask questions and be a second set of ears both during and after the appointment when you may be trying to digest what was discussed with your physician. Don’t forget to complete any necessary releases so these people can contact your provider on your behalf.”
  6. Don’t be afraid to ask questions. “I always like to get a clear diagnosis, copies of my test results, information about my medications and an understanding of expectations. For example, I always ask when my doctor wants to see me again,” Bayer recommended.

About Lisa Bayer:

An attorney, board-certified case manager and a certified geriatric care manager, Lisa advocates on behalf of older adults and their loved ones by helping them make informed, practical and cost-responsible elder care plans and decisions. You may reach Lisa at LBayer@LMReldercare.com.