After 20 years it’s hard to face the prospect of “breaking up” with your doctor, but sometimes it’s just the right thing to do. That’s what my aging Mom and I faced last month when we came to a decision that it was time for a change for her. Before changing doctors though, it’s important to take the time to determine what qualities you’re looking for in your doctor and his/her staff. Here are some of the characteristics we look for in a new doctor beyond the obvious professional credentials and hospital affiliations.
Someone who would focus on helping her live the rest of her life as independent and pain free as possible.
Someone who was familiar with the medical issues typical of someone her age.
Someone who would take time to explain what was going on and answer questions honestly and clearly.
Someone with an office staff that was understanding of patients who are hard of hearing and easily confused.
Someone who had a “record” of having capacity to schedule visits quickly and minimize waiting room time.
Everyone’s list will be different, which is why the doctor who’s right for one person may not be the one who’s right for another person. Based on her “wish list” we found a doctor with a specialty in geriatric care, and had multiple on-line reviews that indicated
wait time for an appointment was 24-48 hours,
waiting room time was on average less than 15 minutes, and
an office staff that was polite and friendly.
Next step was the “new patient” visit which entailed some hefty, but necessary preparation. However, I asked that the paperwork be sent in advance which enabled me to take the time to provide a complete and accurate picture of Mom’s past and current medical history.
Last “breakup”. Changing…