This post on NPR called 10 Question To Ask Your Doctor is a really good one. So good, that it started me thinking about the 10 Questions To Ask Your Parents, common sense questions that I came up with from my turn as adult child of aging parent, as well as home health clinician. Here goes:
1. Who is your primary care doctor?
2. Who is your psychiatrist?
3. Where do you keep your Medicare card and supplemental insurance information?
4. If you want me to be able to speak to the doctor, have you added my name to your Release of Information documents at the doctor’s office and at the specialists’ office?
5. What medications are you on and do you have a list of them?
6. Are you allergic to any medications? Also, do you have a list of the side effects of your medications?
7. Are you taking any herbal supplements and, if so, what are they?
8. Has there been a change in the length between visits at which the doctor wants to see you? If so, do you know why, and can you tell me?
9. Do you have a Durable Power of Attorney for Healthcare?
10. Do you have my phone number written down, stored in your phone, kept in your wallet or elsewhere, that is easily accessible? Likewise, do you have someone else to call in case I am not available.
So, maybe you’ve got a few more than the 10 questions here, but that’s okay. For you, having this information, keeping it safely in a folder or on a smart phone, can make life easier for both you and your parent, should an unexpected event (perhaps during an emergency when one or both of you is out of town) occur that requires action. In addition, you can check and see that your parent has your information in a safe place as well.
Make it a habit of reviewing the information every few months, because patients change their doctors, and insurance policies and terms can change, too. The good news is that once you create the lists, they easy to update — something you’ll be glad you did should you ever need them.
Next time: 10 Questions To Ask Your Parent About Their Money.
Meredith Resnick, LCSW, worked as a clinical social worker in geriatrics, psychiatry and home health/hospice for more than two decades. Her personal essays have appeared in Newsweek, Bride’s, JAMA, The Orange County Register, Los Angeles Times and many others. She writes about all things “Sandwich Generation” for Psychology Today–Visit: More Than Caregiving: The Real Truth About Life With Aging Parents. For more, visit: MeredithResnick.com.