By Ann Ruckdaschel
As one grows older, it becomes inevitable that visits to the doctor will become more frequent, and, in today’s world of medicine, the number of specialists your loved one sees is likely to increase as well. The “quarterback” of your loved one’s medical team is the primary care physician, and they hold all of the records as to what doctors are on the team, what medications your loved one is taking, etc.
Do you know who your loved ones’ primary care physician is? Do you know what issues they’ve been seen for? Does your loved one or their doctors have a hospital preference? What specialists have they been referred to? these are all questions that you need to ask your parents in order for you to know what’s going on physically and mentally with your parents and to manage their health care when that time comes.
Medications are also a part of growing older. Many, if not most older people take multiple medications for numerous ailments and conditions. it is important to know what medications they are taking, how often they are supposed to be taking them, and what those medications are for.
- Do you know what medications your loved one is on?
- Do you know where they store their medication?
- Do you know what medications are for?
- Do you have a medication list written down, where is it kept, and how often do you update it?
- Does your loved you have any medication allergies?
- Does your loved one carry a list of their current medications (and those they’re allergic to) in their wallet, so as soon as a prescription is changed or added, the list can be updated (this is also handy if they need immediate attention, like in an emergency room.
Health insurance also plays a large part in their health care. They are likely on Medicare, but they may also have supplemental insurance.
- Do you know what their current health care coverage plan is and what it includes and specifically excludes?
- Do you know if they need referrals from a primary care doctor before seeing a specialist?
- Are there deductibles or co-pays for treatment or doctors visits? floors or caps on treatment?
Dealing with a loved one’s health can be a complicated and tricky situation, and it becomes more difficult with distance; you may not be geographically close enough to take them to their doctors appointments, or see how they respond to changes in their medications, or even be sure that they are taking their medications when they are supposed to. Having someone that can manage these and other aspects of your loved one’s health care can bring piece of mind to both you and your loved ones.
If you’d like to get more information about this and other topics covered in this series, or just don’t know where to start, Prairie Rose Care Management is here to help. Contact us to arrange for a brief consultation to get your questions answered.