Visits to the doctor can be stressful, especially when someone is dealing with a chronic (long-term) health condition or a serious illness. Use these tips to help someone you care about before, during, and after a doctor’s visit.
Before the visit:
- Ask your loved one if he would like you to go with him to the visit.
- Help him make a list of questions to ask the doctor or nurse.
- Suggest that he make a folder of information to share with the doctor or nurse.
Make a list of information to share with the doctor:
- Any changes in your loved one's health since the last visit, like a serious injury or illness
- Any recent life changes, like becoming unemployed
- A family health history
- A list of all the medicines that your loved one is taking, including over-the-counter medicines and vitamins
During the visit:
- Introduce yourself to the doctor and explain why you're there. The doctor may ask to see your loved one in private during parts of the visit.
- Take a notepad and write down the doctor’s advice and answers to questions.
- If you don’t understand something the doctor says, ask the doctor to explain it until you do understand.
After the visit:
- Discuss the visit with your loved one and talk about what you learned. If you forget or can’t agree on what the doctor said, call the doctor’s office and ask.
- Ask your loved one if she needs help getting any medicines or supplies that the doctor recommended.
- Remind your loved one to set up any follow-up appointments with the doctor or nurse.
Resources to share with your loved one:
Share these tools to help your loved one:
Content last updated February 3, 2020
This information on supporting a friend or family member at a medical appointment was adapted from materials from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services and the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality.
Kimberly Long and Stuart Caplan
Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services
Division of Policy and Evidence Review
Coverage and Analysis Group