Monday, March 10, 2008

Question of the Week - Medical Advocates

My husband took his mother to an orthopedist today to see about a pain she has in her knee. It isn't that she couldn't go by herself, but we are learning how important a "medical advocate" is - someone who is able to sit in on an exam and/or consultation and hear what the doctor has to say. For several years now, I have gone with my grandmother to her doctor's appointments. If I am not able to go with her, my mother or sister goes. We find that it is best to have an advocate there to ask questions, make notes (if necessary), and get another set of eyes and ears into the equation for a full understanding of the diagnosis and treatment.

When I go to my family doctor, I usually go alone... but I take a list of questions and things I want to discuss... and I make notes while I am there. Last year I broke my ankle, and my husband went with me to all of my appointments with the orthopedist. I was amazed at how much of what the doctor said had gone right past me... or I could not recall... and I was so thankful that my husband was there to receive the information and internalize it. I realized that if I needed an advocate at age 50, surely older adults could use one, as well.

So the question this week is... how do you handle this issue? Do you go with your seniors to their doctor appointments? Do you communicate with your seniors' doctors and nurses to ensure you fully understand their diagnoses and treatments? Do you think this is important, or do you feel it is being overly protective? Weigh in and share your thoughts and opinions!

1 comment:

Fab Grandma said...

I would love to go to the doctor visit with my MIL, but she won't let me. All we know is what she and my FIL tell us, and sometimes the things they tell us don't make sense. We know she takes 22 pills each day, but because we don't go with her to her appointments, we don't know what they are for, of they could react with each other, or if she really needs all of that medication.