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1 year ago · · Comments Off on How to talk to a Senior Loved One’s Doctor

How to talk to a Senior Loved One’s Doctor

Are you concerned about your aging parent’s health? Is your parent showing signs of memory loss or forgetting to take their medications?

If yes, here are some useful tips on how to talk to your parent’s doctor about such concerns.

Important Things

Ask your aging parent(s) to sign the federal HIPAA form (Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act) at doctors’ office or the hospital. Signing the HIPAA form gives your senior loved one’s doctor permission to share medical information about your loved one with you.

In addition, make sure your aging parent fills out a health care power of attorney, in case s/he, physically or cognitively, loses the ability to make decisions for himself and for an advance directive about any end of life care. It’s important for the family caregiver to now know about their health and their preferences.

Even if your parent doesn’t sign the HIPAA form or give the doctor permission to speak with you, you can still share your concerns. However, without the HIPAA form, the doctor won’t be able to discuss the patient’s care with you. It is a good idea to share your concerns over email since it gives you a written record and reminds the doctor to bring up the issue directly with the patient.

How to be involved in your Senior Loved One’s Care

If you consider access to your parent’s doctor important, tell him/her that you respect and support their independence and privacy and that you only want to be involved because you love him/her and want them to get the best care possible.

If there is someone other than you, in the family, for example, a sibling, it is best to select who would communicate with the doctor. That one person can update the rest of the siblings.

Before the visit, decide and make a note of what you are planning on discussing. If your parent doesn’t want you to see the doctor without them, respect their decision. You can bring up an issue in the doctor’s office or you can write an email to the doctor, in advance. You can decide with your parent the questions you two would ask and who would ask them. Let your senior parent take the lead. After the visit, discuss with your senior parent, how it went and what was said.

Regardless of which way your senior loved one is leaning — for or against – your involvement is important. They need to know you are listening to them.

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