Follow-up appointments are a crucial part of a senior’s recovery after leaving the hospital. Not only does it help the doctor to manage the recovery period, but it also provides peace of mind and support for the family members who are involved in the care plan.
Before your senior loved one is discharged from the hospital, you will likely be given instructions about follow-up appointments, medication management, wound care, and any other testing that is needed to make sure your senior is progressing well.
Even if you are keeping track of everything through an app on your phone or computer, it is also helpful to have a calendar by the phone so you can easily write in appointments as they are made, as well as any other reminders.
Before you leave for any follow-up appointments, be sure to bring an updated list of all medications and supplements. You should also write down any concerns and questions and take that with you. This could include things like changes in symptoms, or any new problems such as nausea, vomiting, difficulty breathing, skin reactions or rashes, or loss of appetite.
If your loved one has any medical equipment that needs to be carried with them to the doctor visit, you may need to plan ahead for that. This could include things like oxygen tanks, wheelchairs, etc. It may be necessary to ask other family members to help, or even a transport agency or a home health care worker.
Take a pen and paper with you to the appointment and make certain that the senior is asking important questions such as:
• Why am I having this appointment today?
• What exactly am I being treated for?
• What are the things that I need to be doing to ensure recovery?
• Do I need to see any other specialists or health providers?
• Are all of my doctors aware of my discharge plan and medical care?
• If I have questions about my health care, who should I call?
• Is it possible to have a print-out of the summary of this visit?
Using the worksheet PDF below provided by Medicare, the worksheet PDF below provided by Medicare, you can help your senior loved one keep track of the things discussed both before and after their appointments. The right tools and the right questions will ensure that your senior has all the information they need to stay on the right track for a successful recovery and quality of life!