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Support a Loved One at the Doctor: Quick tips

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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 October 15, 2020

Reviewer Information

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.

Reviewed by:
Kimberly Long and Stuart Caplan
Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services
Division of Policy and Evidence Review
Coverage and Analysis Group

February 2019