Pay Attention Please, Docs

Until they are pretty old and fairly tuned out, seniors like explanations. Most do not like medical tests even though Medicare pays for lots of them. My parents like their doctors and willingly get the tests if they understand why and what difference a test will make in their lives, but they want to know why and often they have many questions. Moreover, at their age, they often need to go home and think up their questions. This situation is not easy for physicians because seniors have lots of questions and take up extra time.

Based on watching four senior parents get many, many diagnostic tests, it’s my view that, except for emergencies, most diagnostic test can be postponed or delayed a week or so until a person clearly understands why the test is being ordered. The more invasive the more a bit of extra time is necessary.

This past summer cardiologists prescribed quite a few diagnostic heart tests and procedures for my 86-year-old  father, including a cardiac catheterization. The physicians said they were necessary for his aortic aneurysm, but then when my dad went to schedule the procedure, the first appointment was eight weeks in the future. Given that it clearly was not an emergency, another week, with perhaps one more visit to the cardiologists would not have made a difference in his understanding and his anxiety.

One thought on “Pay Attention Please, Docs

  1. Pingback: Helplessness and Aging « As Our Parents Age

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