Communicating with Health Care Providers

Effective communication with health care providers is extremely important and planning ahead for doctor visits can help you be organized and thoughtful about what questions you might want to ask.

For more great tips check out our blogs on this topic: Communicating with Healthcare Providers.

Here are some pointers for visits to the doctor:

•  Accompany him/her to doctors’ appointments, at least occasionally
•  Plan what to ask
•  Bring medications to appointments 
•  Write questions down
•  Tell the doctor about other physicians and health care
•  Be clear about what you want to say to the doctor; avoid rambling
•  Don’t hesitate to ask questions; expect clear answers
•  Let your family member talk when asked questions, adding information as needed.

Quick tips for partnering with medical providers:

•  Make a consultation appointment with the doctor if you have several questions and concerns
•  Learn the routine of the doctor’s office
•  Get to know the nurse and office staff
•  Ask if you can contact the nurse directly with questions
•  Find out if the physician will see patients in a nursing facility
•  Find out how the doctor feels about end of life issues

The National Family Caregivers Association recommends:

1.  Show respect and expect respect
2.  Breathe deeply
3.  Make eye contact
4.  Stay in the moment
5.  Establish rapport
6.  Maintain a strong sense of self
7.  Be prepared
8.  Clearly state your purpose
9.  Stay focused on the current problems, issues, treatments, and follow-up
10.  Offer relevant Information
11.  Ask questions
12.  Be assertive

Resources for Caregivers

  • Call 2-1-1 throughout Texas for information and access to health and human service information for all ages.
  • Call 800-252-9240 to find local Texas Area Agency on Aging.
  • Call 800-677-1116 – Elder Care Locator service to find help throughout the U.S.

Use resources such as Area Agency on Aging (AAA). Types of assistance provided by AAAs:

  • Information and referral
  • Caregiver education and training
  • Caregiver respite
  • Caregiver support coordination
  • Case management
  • Transportation assistance

Assistance available through AAAs for persons age 60 and older may include:

  • Benefits counseling
  • Ombudsman – advocacy for those who live in nursing homes and assisted living facilities
  • Home-delivered meals
  • Congregate meals
  • Light housekeeping

Be sure to check out our Resource Directory, FAQ, and Educational Events Calendar for more great information! Permission is granted to duplicate any and all parts of this page to use in education programs supporting family members caring for elders. 

Revised 2021