Relevar Home Care recently published a very helpful article for caregivers. The article noted that nearly three-quarters of all seniors are diagnosed with at least two chronic diseases, and are seeing an average of different four medical specialists.
So, if you are the advocate for an aging parent, you need the be the “quarterback” that is coordinating the care. Relevar listed four great questions you could use to start the conversations:
- Are all of these medications necessary? You should keep a detailed list of all prescriptions and review them with both the doctor(s) and the pharmacist. You want reassurance that there isn’t duplication or negative interactions between the meds. And don’t assume that all of the doctors have a complete list of all the medicines your loved one takes. You may need to provide that list to them.
- What are the side effects of any new medication? It is difficult to weigh the benefits of a new medication if you don’t know the risks. Even if the doctor says that “most patients don’t experience any problems”, you should dig deeper to see if your loved one fits the category of patients who DO experience side effects.
- What’s the best way to reduce pain and discomfort? Naturally, you want to be cautious that pain killers don’t become a problem or an addiction. But unaddressed pain can slow down healing and cause significant emotional stress for the patient.
- If this were your mom or dad, what would you do? Asking the physician to step into your shoes can often lead to suggestions for less invasive or aggressive means to manage a problem, and you may want to try those first.