13866052723_2020820f89_mHave you ever left your doctor’s office in Fort Oglethorpe, Georgia or Chattanooga feeling unsure about how often to take your newly prescribed medications, wondering why you didn’t have the chance to mention that odd symptom that has been bothering you or when to schedule your next appointment?

Rest assured, you are not alone.

Open communication between you and your doctor is vital to ensure that you receive the best medical care possible.

Being prepared before your doctor’s appointment is key for the best possible visit. The following are some pre-visit tips:

  • Make a list of questions that would like answered during your appointment. Just like having a shopping list, this list of questions will keep you focused.
  • It is possible for doctors to plan longer office visits for patients. Call ahead and explain that you are a senior patient and would appreciate a little extra time, so that a longer amount of time will be scheduled for the visit. You can give a list of your symptoms to the nurse so that she can pass them along to your doctor. It is easier to have a discussion when you and your doctor have a few extra minutes to relax and not feel rushed.
  • Take along a family member, a trusted friend or a caregiver who is very familiar with your situation. This person will be another set of ears to be sure the doctor’s instructions are understood
  • Put together a comprehensive medical history, maybe in a notebook, and bring a copy along to appointments, especially when visiting a new doctor. You should include information such as current doctor’s names, medications, insurance info, allergies, past health issues and treatments, etc.
  • Be ready to discuss specific symptoms. Your description helps the doctor identify the problem. Your symptoms that point the doctor in the right direction.
  • During your appointment you will want to:
  • Ask your physician to summarize the key points made during the visit at the end of your appointment. Anything that was discussed can then be revisited. Don’t be afraid to ask questions!
  • Review any written instructions you are provided at the very end of your visit with your doctor or nurse. This will help you feel confident that you know what the next steps in your treatment are.

Treating your doctor like a partner is important in working toward good health. A small amount of preparation and clear communication on your part can help you make the most of your next doctor’s visit.