Rx for a successful doctor visit

By Annette Sandler, JFCS Aging Services Director, and Victor Sandler, MD

As people age, going to the doctor can become more of a challenge. Individuals might have multiple things that are causing health issues. It can be overwhelming to prepare for a doctor’s visit, thinking about everything you want to ask him/her. For this reason, AARP has put together a checklist of items people can do to “Prepare For a Successful Doctor’s Visit”:


Preparing for your visit – bring the following with you:

  1. A list of your questions and a pen to write down the answers
  2. A list of your symptoms. Limit yourself to three problems per 15-minute visit.
  3. A list of all the medications you are taking, including vitamins
  4. Your insurance card, medical records and advance directive if you have one


Talking to your doctor:

  1. Be clear and honest about what you are experiencing
  2. Update the doctor on any changes in your life
  3. You may wish to bring a friend or family member to the appointment for moral support
  4. Ask about those things most appropriate to the situation and in keeping with the time allotted for your visit


Things to consider:

  1. Diagnosis of what is wrong
  2. Tests needed and when results will be known
  3. Treatment options and the benefits, risks and side effects of each
  4. Medications needed, side effects and a possible generic version
  5. Follow-up visit to a specialist or for a second opinion
  6. Clarification of what was said to be sure you understand
  7. If you have additional questions, call the office and ask to speak to the doctor or his/her nurse


JFCS Aging Services Care Coordinators can go to doctor’s appointments with clients, listen to the doctor and communicate with family members the results. They can also take notes and help clients understand their medication lists. If a client does not require a Care Coordinator in the doctor’s office, JFCS also offers Curb to Curb transportation service. For more information call 952-546-0616.