Communicating with your doctor is one of the most important things you can do to remain healthy. Ideally you and your doctor will work as a team in order to achieve the best outcomes for your health and wellness. Unfortunately, in today’s fast paced world it is easy to feel rushed and to forget about important issues you may want to bring up. Having plan can help you make the most of your appointment.
Make a list of what you want to discuss
Do you have any new symptoms? Are you experiencing any reactions to new medications? Are you concerned about how a treatment is affecting your daily life? If you have multiple concerns be sure to write them down so you don’t forget to bring them up.
Update your Doctor
Let your doctor know about any changes that have occurred since your last visit. Have you been to the hospital or emergency room? Have you noticed any changes in vision, hearing, appetite, sleep or weight? Have you had any new medications prescribed by other doctors?
Have a list of medications handy
Your doctor will want to know what medications you are currently taking and if there have been any changes recently. Don’t forget to include any over the counter medications or supplements you take. Be sure to include the dose you are taking and how often you take it.
Bring other important Information
It is always helpful to have your insurance cards handy at an appointment. You may also want to bring the names and contact information for any other doctors or specialists you see. If you have recently been to the hospital or emergency room bring the discharge papers for your doctor to review.
Bring a friend or family member
A friend or family member can help remind you of topics you want to address and can take important notes during the appointment, so nothing gets missed. Be sure to let the friend or family member know in advance what you hope to accomplish during the visit.
Don’t be afraid to ask questions
What side effects could you experience from a new medication? What type of diagnostic tests are being used and what do you need to do to prepare? How long will it take for results? Are there any alternative treatments available? If you don’t understand a recommendation be sure to ask for additional information or clarification.
Unfortunately, even during a crisis there are unscrupulous people who use fear and misinformation to try to enrich themselves. Although anyone could become a victim of a scam at any time it is common for scammers to target senior citizens and to use a crisis like the corona virus pandemic to separate honest people from their money. Here are a few things to look out for in order to protect yourself.
Fake charities: When a major event happens, it’s natural to look for ways to help. Unfortunately, scammers use these events to take advantage of your generosity. Some scammers use names that sound very similar to names of real charities. It is always a good idea to do some research before giving.
Emails, texts and phishing scams: Scammers use fake emails or texts to get you to share information like account numbers, Social Security numbers, or login IDs and passwords. They use your information to steal your money, your identity, or both. Scammers will often use familiar company names or pretend to be someone you know.
Robocalls: Scammers are using robocalls to sell fake Corona virus treatments or to put you on a fake waiting list for a vaccine that doesn’t exist. If you get one of these calls hang up. Do not press any numbers even though it might say pressing a number will remove you from the list, in reality this may lead to more robocalls.
Misinformation: Scammers, and sometimes even well-intentioned people, share information that may not be true. Before you pay someone or share your personal information, do some fact checking by contacting trusted sources.
If you have been a victim of a scam or believe you have spotted a scam you can report it to the federal trade commission. The Federal Trade Commission is the nation's consumer protection agency and can helps stop these types of scams and frauds. To file a complaint, go to ftc.gov/complaint or call 1-877-FTC-help.