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Tips & Tricks From Our Team: Empowered Medical Visits




About this series: Our Duos have learned countless tips and tricks of the trade in our work supporting older adults and their caregivers. In these posts, we share our easy-to-follow guides for dealing with some of the most common aging navigation issues we encounter every day.

Do you ever leave your doctor’s office and think: what just happened - did I even talk to the doctor? If you feel like you leave healthcare appointments with more questions than answers, you’re not alone! Here are some of our Duos’ go-to tips to help you feel more prepared and empowered at your next medical visit.

Preparing For A Medical Visit

  • What’s the reason for this medical visit? Write this down, as well as your top health concerns and any specific questions that you would like answered. Remember to leave room for notes.
  • Have a list of your current medications, pharmacy info, emergency contacts, other healthcare providers, and medical conditions. Update this list before each appointment and bring the updated version with you. 
  • It is always a smart idea to check with your insurance and medical provider (especially if it is your first visit of the year) to confirm that your healthcare provider is still in-network with your plan. 

At Your Medical Visit 

  • Show your doctor and their staff the list of questions that you have prepared. The team may be able to provide answers before your doctor comes into the room. 
  • Ask each of your questions, write down responses, and summarize your understanding
  • Confirming you heard the information correctly will make you feel empowered! 
  • If your medical team orders any tests or prescribes a new medication, write down how to take the new medication or what to expect with the procedure. Summarize your understanding and ask them if you are correct. 

Other Tips & Tricks

Healthcare systems typically have a nurse line available for you to call if you have questions or concerns in between visits. Ask your medical team how to get in touch with the nurse line and add it to your notes. If you realize you do not fully understand any of the information covered in your doctor’s visit, you can always call for additional support

Here are some specific questions our Duos recommend for your upcoming doctor’s visit, depending on your top health concerns:

Preventative Care and Lifestyle

  • What preventive care services are right for me?
  • How often should I come in for a check-up?
  • Can you help me to set some health goals (ex. managing weight, sugar levels, etc.)?
  • Are there specific resources available for my chronic condition (ex. diabetes, high blood pressure)?


  • What are each of my medications for and why?
  • Are there alternative treatment options available aside from taking medication? 
  • How can I best organize and track my medications?
  • How long will I need to take this medication?
  • Do any of my medications have special instructions (ex. take with food, take at same time every day)?

Chronic Conditions

  • Have you treated patients with this condition before?
  • What resources are available to help me manage this condition (ex. nutritional assistance, wound care, vision care)?
  • Are there other appointments or doctors I should consider given this condition?
  • What are emergency symptoms related to this condition?

Before a Test or Procedure

  • What is the purpose of this test/procedure?
  • When should I get the test/procedure?
  • Where will I take this test/have this procedure?
  • Where should I park or be dropped off?
  • Can someone come with me to this test/procedure? 
  • Will I be able to drive or take transportation alone after?
  • Do I need to arrive early?
  • Is this an inpatient or outpatient procedure? 
  • How should I prepare for this test/procedure?
  • Is there anything I should/should not wear or bring to this test/procedure?
  • When will I receive the results and how will I receive them?

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