Alabama Department of Senior Services
A RESOURCE FOR ALABAMA SENIORS WITH MEMORY LOSS AND THEIR CARE GIVERS
Communicating with Providers
Communicating with a healthcare provider can be intimidating for some, especially when discussing the healthcare of a loved one. Healthcare providers chose their profession because they wanted to help others—like you. So, do not be afraid to ask questions.
When preparing for a visit with a healthcare provider:
1) Ask them, “What information you need to bring to the first visit?”
2) Take a list of your concerns and questions, especially those related to that professional’s area of expertise. If you ask questions that are not in their area of expertise, they will refer you to someone who can answer. If you do not take a list of concerns or questions, you may forget.
3) Take a list of all medication, including the dose and times per day. Your pharmacist can help you make this list. Or, you can take the medicine bottles with you to the appointment.
4) If you do not understand something the provider is trying to explain to you, simply tell them that you do not understand. Help the provider by telling them what you do understand, so that they can focus on the parts that you don’t. It is important to stay calm if you do not understand everything. Write things down, if that helps. Or, if you are at the provider’s office and have a cellular phone that records, ask if you can record what they are trying to explain on your telephone.
5) If you understood something when they explained it to you, but you have forgotten—ask again.
6) Take good notes, especially with appointment times, things to bring with you, medication, activity and exercise instructions, and issues related to safety.