Like most Kinto caregivers, you’re probably regularly taking your loved one to the doctor’s office. As you’re well aware, this involves making appointments, getting them there, and the usual waiting around before you go in. Most likely their doctors are helpful, gentle, competent, and genuinely concerned about your loved one’s well-being. But one thing is for certain: their doctors are very, very busy!
The average doctor only has about 20 minutes per visit to catch up on what’s going on, check symptoms, ask and answer questions, and do any treatments before going on to their next patient. So as a caregiver it’s super important that you make the most of your 20 minutes to make sure your loved one is getting the best care possible.
Here are a few simple tips we have found extremely useful:
1. Write down a list of all the things you and your loved one want to discuss, especially new symptoms or changes in old ones. If you haven’t done it already, write the list down in the waiting room — you will usually have plenty of time!
2. Bring a list of all the medications they're taking, including over the counter drugs. The Kinto Medications Tool makes creating the list really easy and then you will always have it available. Don’t just assume that the doctor knows everything.
3. Take notes during the visit so you can remember everything the doctor tells you. Use your phone if you haven’t brought a notepad.
4. Take your time and make sure you understand everything the doctor says. Ask him or her to repeat things or spell them out, and don’t finish the visit until you’ve covered everything on your list.
5. If a new med is being prescribed, make sure the doctor tells you how soon before your loved one will start feeling changes, any side effects that they're likely to experience, and if there are any situations where they should stop taking the drug immediately. Don’t forget to add it to the Kinto Medication Tool!
6. Ask the doctor about saving money on prescription medications, especially if new meds are being prescribed. Some doctors may have sample medications available, which can save the hassle of a trip to the pharmacy and the cost of a few weeks of a medication.
7. When leaving, check with the front desk and ask if you can sign a form (called a "HIPAA Privacy Authorization") which allows the doctor’s office to talk with you about your loved one's treatment and bills without having to get your loved one on the phone as well. Don’t forget to schedule their next appointment as well!