NIA Offers Tips for Talking with Your Doctor
For "Older Americans Month" (May), the National Institute on Aging is providing information to help older patients become more-active partners in their own health care.
Schmalfeldt: Getting proper health care is a two-way street: to a large part, it depends on how well you communicate with your doctor. With May being "Older Americans Month", the National Institute On Aging is providing information designed to help older patients become more-active partners in their own health care. Doctor Judith Salerno — Deputy Director of the NIA — said patients should have a plan in place before each visit to the doctor.
Salerno: Well, the first thing to remember is that you and your doctor are a team in assuring your good health. But, you really must be an active member of that team. That means making sure that you find a doctor who you're comfortable with — a doctor you can talk to; coming to your appointments prepared — and that can mean making lists, if you're unlikely to remember everything that you need to ask; and remember to bring those subjects and concerns up, even if your doctor doesn't ask you about them.
Schmalfeldt: Doctor Salerno also said it's a good idea to bring your medications along — in a paper bag or some other container — so your doctor can get an accurate picture of what meds you're taking. And, with so much health-care information — and misinformation — so readily available these days, she emphasized that your visit with the doctor is a great opportunity to clear up any misconceptions you may have picked up.
Salerno: There's a lot of health information out there — and not all of it is good. So, if you find out information from the internet — from a sound bite on the radio — and you have questions about that, raise that with your doctor — particularly if it's in relation to a chronic condition that you may have.
Schmalfeldt: There's a lot more information about talking with your doctor — as well as a variety of other health-related subjects of interest to older Americans — at the NIA's "Information Center". To get access to that info — as well as free publications — call the toll-free number, 800-222-2225. From the National Institutes of Health, I'm Bill Schmalfeldt, in Bethesda, Maryland.
About This Audio Report
Reporter: Bill Schmalfeldt
Sound Bite: Dr. Judith Salerno