Your mom likes her doctor, but she’s older and needs a new doctor. Maybe her current doctor isn’t certain she can treat her effectively now that she has dementia. She’s moved to live with you, and you’re too far away from her doctor.
These are a couple of reasons why you’d be searching for a new primary doctor for your mom. What you may not be prepared for is the difficulty that can happen when you’re trying to find a doctor for an elderly parent.
When you start your search, you’ll need to see who your mom’s health insurance recommends. In addition to that, you should read reviews and see if any of your friends have recommendations. After that, it’s time to make calls and ask these five questions.
Are You Currently Taking New Patients?
You’d be surprised how quickly things can change. An insurance company may show a doctor accepts new patients, but the reality may be different. You might be told the only way you can be added to the patient list is if you agree to have your parent see a physician’s assistant. You may not be comfortable with that.
You may also find that doctors with openings are looking at younger patients. They may not specialize in geriatrics and, therefore, won’t agree to take on your mom. This is common if your parent has a chronic health condition, such as Alzheimer’s disease.
How Long a Wait is There Until an Appointment is Available?
Doctors who have full patient rosters often book up months in advance. If you find a doctor and that doctor cannot see your mom until six months from now, is that okay with you?
Do You Have a Specialty?
Most doctors, even family doctors, have specialties. You might find one doctor received more training in pediatrics while another spent more time studying geriatrics. Ideally, you’ll want someone that leaned more towards geriatrics.
Do You Still Take This Insurance?
An insurance company may tell you a doctor takes that insurance, but you should verify it with the doctor. Sometimes, insurance companies fail to remove doctors from lists on a timely basis.
Arrange Home Care Services to Avoid Schedule Conflicts
If you hold a full-time or part-time job and care for your mom, look into home care services. If the doctor has an opening during your regular work hours, you’ll either have to take time off or make arrangements to have someone else drive your mom. Caregivers can do that.
If you or an aging loved one are considering home care services in West Trenton, NJ, please call the caring staff at Care Street Home Care. You can reach our Mercer/Burlington Division at (609) 496-5666.
Dr. Shelly, as he is fondly known, has served as an Alzheimer’s Support Group Facilitator in Mercer County and is a Certified Dementia Instructor. Knowledgeable, compassionate, and unusually devoted, his guidance is crucial in helping families understand their options and render decisions for their loved ones’ care plan. Dr. Shelly’s extensive experience, sincere and pleasant demeanor, and professional affiliations have made him a vital asset to Care Street.
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