A friend of mind said “my dad had a lot of tests done and he came home with the results unsure of what to do with them or how to read them. How many people go through that with their parents?”
My answer is A LOT.
A routine doctor’s visit for an elderly patient is different then a usual physical or office visit. Many are on multiple medications which require regular testing and blood work. An adult child taking care of or who is responsible for an elderly parent does not have to be consumed with all the results of the test but should grasp an understanding of what tests are needing to be done, why and how often. Keeping a schedule of medications, appointments, procedures, lab work, and diagnostics is very important. Organization is key.
Also having an open communication method with the Physician or Prescriber is just as important. Your parent might have received a copy of the test results but did they understand the findings of the test? What changes are going to happen according to those results?
It could be a slight adjustment of one medication or the complete discontinuation of another medication. Because the elderly often have complicated health problems the Prescriber could have them taking many medications and sometimes they can interact. Communicating with your Prescriber at a timely manner is key. It’s a lot of number to keep up with if you are trying to become an expert at keeping up with test results.
Here are some common testings that the elderly usually have to get done sometime along the way and the normal and abnormal values…
If it becomes a task which you struggle to maintain, seek help from another professional such as a Home Health Care Agency in your community or a Case Manager. They can be the in between person and accepting their services could be already covered by your insurance provider and eliminate the headache of having to sort through all the paper work.
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