Here’s a situation that comes up for many people: you move in later life.
Or maybe it’s your older mother — or father, or other older relative — who’s moving to a new town, perhaps to be closer to you, or otherwise be somewhere more conducive to aging in place.
Such a move means that you’ll need to establish care with a new primary care doctor.
For most older adults, establishing a good working relationship with a new doctor is a challenge. If nothing else, it can take some time to feel that each party knows and understands the other.
But it’s also in many cases a terrific opportunity to review a person’s health and healthcare. Provided, of course, that everyone involved makes an effort, and has good information to work with.
In this post, I’ll share my list of the most useful health information that you should bring to that first visit with the new primary care doctor.
Do you have to bring this information? Of course not. In my own experience, most people bring nothing more than a medication list, if that. And they leave it to the new doctors to request health information from the previous doctors, which often arrives well after that first new patient visit.
But this is a problem, because it makes it quite difficult for that first visit to be truly useful.
Sure, the doctor can interview you, and do a physical exam. Yet for many older adults, that interview and exam is often much more productive if a doctor can combine it with a review of the most useful health information.
I myself used to see a fair number of new older patients, when I was a primary care geriatrician at the Over 60 Health Center. Those first visits often felt like fumbling around in a dark room, feeling the walls and furniture and trying to get a sense of the overall layout.
But occasionally, a new patient would come with useful health information in hand. This generally made a big difference in how quickly we could ensure that our new patient was getting the right medical care from us, and from other involved doctors.
So if you want to have the best start possible with a new doctor — or help your aging parent do so — you’ll need to do a little advance preparation. This often requires some time and energy. But it will pay off, by ensuring that the new doctor has the information he or she needs, to provide you with good healthcare.
Also, if you are in that season of life where you’re starting to be more involved with your aging parent’s health (or think perhaps you should be), this is a great opportunity to learn more about your parent’s health.
10 Useful Types of Medical Information to Bring to a New Doctor
Here’s my list of what I ask patients and families to bring to me, in order to make that new patient visit most useful.[Read more…]