Wednesday, January 22, 2014

3 Steps to Help you Prepare for a Medical Visit

By Sharon A. O'Brien, SC; RN, PG; BSW, RSW; CG 
Executive Vice-President of Policy & Education 
at Senior Watch 

Medical visits can be very stressful for a person with dementia as well as for the caregiver.  I believe there are some things that can be done to lower the stress.   With limited time with the doctor and a growing list of questions needing answers, the caregiver can take specific steps to make the most of the time allotted.

1. When making the appointment try to schedule the visit for the person’s best time to be morning or early afternoon. Avoid late in the day appointments if at all possible as this is the time that confusion tends to grow. 

2. Plan the visit carefully making a list of the concerns and questions.  Are there new or changing behaviours? It is important to prioritize the concerns with the most critical ones addressed at the beginning of the visit.  It probably would be a good idea to bring along present medications so they can be reviewed as well.

3. The doctor will ask about changes in behaviour.  Try to be specific citing examples of bothersome behaviours or changes noted since the last change in medication.  What precedes a change in mood?  What activities are most enjoyed?  Is the level of hands on care needed increasing?

These three steps could make a big difference in the quality of the visit and the comfort experienced by both the caregiver and the loved one.   Does anyone have other suggestions?

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