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Tips for Communicating with your Parent’s Medical Team

As your parent gets older, you’ll need to assume a larger role in managing their health. Having an established plan will help alleviate stress and miscommunication between siblings, doctors, and your parents. Here are a few tips on how to stay up to date on all your parent’s medical needs:

Choose a family liaison

First things first, choose one person to be the family liaison. This person will be in contact with the doctor and in charge of relaying any news to the rest of the family. This not only gets your whole family on the same page, it also makes things easier for your parent’s doctor.

Get paperwork in order

If you do just one thing, it’s this—make sure your parent’s medical paperwork is in order. Contact your parent’s doctor(s) and introduce yourself. Give the doctor copies of your parent’s health care proxy or durable medical power of attorney so he/she know who is responsible for making decisions if your loved one cannot. You should also check to see if your parents have an up-to-date advance directives in place. If not, get this very important document prepared and signed.

Keep an updated list of current medications

Keep track of what medications your parent should be taking, including dosage levels. This will be a helpful reference for your parent (who may be feeling overwhelmed if they have many medical needs) and for the rest of your family. This ensures everyone stays up-to-date and can assist with ensuring medication intake, if necessary.

Attend doctor’s appointments

Going with your parent to his/her doctor’s appointments will keep you up to date on any health news. Furthermore, it gives you a chance to meet and develop a relationship the doctor and ask any questions you may have. If you can’t attend the appointment, contact the doctor afterwards and ask for a recap. Just remember that it may take a while for them to get back to you if they are busy.

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