On Tuesday September 18th is the annual, “Take a Loved One to the Doctor Day.” This holiday occurs on the 3rd Tuesday in September. We all have family and friends that we go the extra mile to make them happy. Whether it’s bringing them flower or taking them out for lunch. We enjoy taking the time and providing what they like or need to brighten up their day. One aspect of our life that may be over looked is our health. According to the American Cancer Society, many Americans wait until it is a medical emergency. By staying up to date on your health and regularly seeing a health care professional you can take steps to prevent emergencies from happening.
Going to the doctor can be expensive, with co pays and deductibles adding up. But, under the Affordable Care Act Sec. 4103, you are entitled to a general wellness checkup at no cost to the policy holder. These initial visits are the first step to understanding how your health is today and improve it for tomorrow. The free general wellness checkup is a basic physical and discussion with your doctor. Unfortunately, other extensive testing such as EKGs, Mammograms and more are not cover under the ACA Sec. 4103.
The American Cancer Society has provided the following steps to get the most out of your next visit:
- Help your friend or family member write down a list of questions to ask the doctor or nurse.
- Gather their health history information, including current conditions and past surgeries or illnesses.
- Gather their family’s health history information, including health conditions of their parents, brothers, and sisters.
- Help them make a list of all the medicines they take, including prescription drugs, over-the-counter drugs, supplements, and vitamins.
- Update your calendar and bring it to the appointment so you will be prepared to schedule a follow-up visit.
During the visit
- Introduce yourself to the doctor or nurse and explain why you are there. Understand if the doctor asks to speak to your friend or family member in private during parts of the visit.
- Help your friend or family member go over the list of questions with the doctor or nurse, starting with the most important ones.
- Listen carefully to the answers and take notes. If you don’t understand something, ask to have it explained until you do understand.
- Help your friend or family member explain their symptoms, health history, and any problems with medicines taken in the past.
- Ask follow-up questions during the visit. For example, if medicines are prescribed, ask about the possible side effects. If a test is ordered, ask what it’s for and what the results will tell you. If a specific treatment is recommended, ask if there are any other options to treat the condition and what might be expected from each.
- Tell the doctor or nurse if you have concerns about your friend or family member’s ability to follow the treatment plan.
- Ask the doctor or nurse if and when another visit should be scheduled.
- Discuss the visit with your friend or family member. If you forget or don’t agree on something, call the doctor’s office and ask.
- Ask your friend or family member if they need help filling prescriptions or making appointments for tests, lab work, or follow-up visits.
- Call the doctor if your friend or family member has side effects from medications; if their symptoms get worse; or if they start taking any new medications, including prescriptions from another doctor, over-the-counter drugs, supplements, or vitamins.
- Remind your friend or family member to call the doctor to get the results of any tests they’ve had or to ask about test results they don’t understand.
The time we spend with our friends, family and our pets are invaluable. Take a day to not only check and maintain your own health but the health of your loved ones, which can make a huge difference. This coming Tuesday KCBJ encourages YOU to make an appointment for a loved one.
By: Jacob Mayday