Posts Tagged ‘primary care provider’

Caring for Your Parents

adult woman with elderly parentAs our parents age, we often find ourselves facing a new responsibility — caring and worrying about their wellbeing. We want to support their wishes, which often include maintaining their independence at home while ensuring they’re healthy, happy and safe.

Wherever you (or your parents) are on this journey, take heart in knowing there are simple measures you can take to support them at every age.

Safety at Home

No one wants to hear they’re no longer able to do something they once considered part of their daily routine. But, to make sure your parents stay safe at home, you need to have an honest conversation about your concerns and their physical health.

Make a cup of coffee or share lunch and brainstorm steps that will make their daily life easier. That may include:

  • Creating a communication plan that quickly notifies authorities and family members during an emergency.
  • Hiring someone to help with cleaning, laundry, and cooking — or designating a family member to help with household chores.
  • Removing or modifying areas of the home that may present a danger, including the shower, toilet, stairways, rugs, and furniture.

These are just a few easy ways you can begin to make your parents’ home safe for their continued independence. Talk to your loved one’s physician or visit AARP’s website for additional advice on keeping your parents safe.

Take Care of Yourself

It can be easy to put yourself at the bottom of your to-do list. Make your health and wellness a priority so you have the physical, mental and emotional strength to care for and support your parents.

Ask for Help

You don’t have to do it all alone. Reach out to siblings, friends or professionals to help ease the stress of caring for aging parents. Siblings who live out of town can lend a hand with weekly or daily phone calls to check in on parents from afar or help by scheduling appointments.

Eat Healthy

A nutritious diet can give you the energy and stamina you need to tackle all your responsibilities. Make room on your plate for loads of veggies, fruits, whole grains, lean protein, and low-fat dairy.

Indulge Yourself

Schedule a massage, get a pedicure or curl up with a good book. Spending time on leisure activities you enjoy can help you unwind and relax.

Stay Active

Exercise is a proven stress reducer and can help improve your mood. Head around the block for a solo walk or have a friend join you during an exercise class.

Talk to Someone

It’s difficult to watch parents – who once seemed invincible to you as a child – struggle with everyday tasks. Share your thoughts and feelings with a loved one, trusted friend or licensed therapist.

Find Ways to Connect

One of the many challenges of aging is a lack of social relationships: isolation and depression are common among the elderly. Help safeguard your parents’ mental and social health.

  • Arrange to visit parents on a regular basis and plan on making regular phone calls to check in.
  • Encourage family and friends to visit parents.
  • Invite parents along on outings they may enjoy. This can include a visit to a park, joining the family for a celebration dinner, or attending a school function.
  • Make routine errands a little more fun. Add a breakfast or lunch date before or after doctor appointments or stop for a special treat after grocery shopping together.
  • Tap into senior resources. Many communities and churches have social groups and event calendars geared toward older adults. Consider signing your mom or dad up for a fun (and safe) exercise class or interesting lecture to meet new people.

Caring for aging parents can be challenging for many reasons. Your parent’s primary care provider can also help guide you to the resources and support you need to help keep mom or dad safe, healthy and happy.

Emory Healthcare

At Emory Healthcare, we’re here to help you find the care you need when you need it. With more than 2,800 doctors and 300 locations, including 11 hospitals, as well as primary care offices, urgent cares, and MinuteClinics, we’re delivering specialized care across the region. Find a doctor near you to help you get and stay healthy.

About Dr. Rodney

Ania Rodney, MD, is a primary care physician and geriatric medicine specialist at Emory Saint Joseph’s Hospital Campus. She believes in empowering her patients by sharing her thoughts concerning the diagnosis and treatment, and explaining the details. Her clinical interests include family medicine, preventive care, primary care, adult health and geriatric medicine.




Choosing a PCP: It’s a Big Decision

Primary Care PhysicianChoosing a primary care provider is a very important personal decision, and a number of factors should be considered to make sure you are selecting a healthcare professional with whom you can form a long-term relationship.

A primary care provider, or PCP for short, works with you to maintain your overall health by focusing on wellness and the optimum management of your chronic conditions to avoid future problems. And while your PCP is your health care hub, he or she can also help you with selection of and referral to a specialist should your condition warrant the additional expertise. While specialists focuse on their area of expertise, your PCP maintains a holistic perspective. In that way, your PCP will work with your specialist, or specialists, to guide you through your treatment course and provide high-level oversight of treatments, medications, therapies and recommendations to ensure your care is as coordinated as possible.

Here are a few tips to help you choose the right PCP for you:

  • Ask Around – Talk to friends, relatives, neighbors and co-workers about their providers. Also consider asking other healthcare professionals for their opinions. Many hospitals also offer referral services, and professional sites, like the state licensure boards, or certification boards (e.g. American Board of Medical Spectialties), confirm whether or not a doctor is Board certified or has any special qualifications you may require.
  • Consider The Details – Once you’ve got a list of potential providers, winnow it down by asking yourself some practical questions:
    • Do I prefer a male or female doctor?
    • Is the doctor in my age bracket? Will I be able to relate to him/her?
    • Where is the office located? Do I need a doctor close to home or the office?
    • What hours of the day is the office open and will those hours be convenient for me?
    • Is the office staff courteous and efficient?
    • Does the office use an electronic medical record and are they able to access your results electronically from the hospital, lab, or other providers.
    • If you are interested, does the PCP offer online and nontraditional options for communication and alternatives to face-to-face visits?
    • If I need to be admitted to the hospital, which hospital would I prefer? Does the doctor normally refer patients there?
    • Does this doctor accept my insurance? If not, am I willing to pay out of pocket ?
  • Board Certification – While there are several online lists and rankings of providers, very few have objective assessments of the provider’s clinical performance. However, while imperfect, Board Certification, does indicate that the provider has met some minimum requirements. It is important to recognize that many fine clinicians have not earned board certification for very appropriate reasons.
  • Board certified physicians have:
    • Earned their degrees from a qualified medical school
    • Completed three to seven years of accredited residency training
    • Are licensed by a state medical board
    • Have passed one or more exams administered by the ABMS
    • Career-long continuing education requirements they must meet to certification
  • In-person Interviews – Once you’ve decided which doctor looks best on paper, take the next step and interview him or her at his or her practice. Most doctors encourage this, although some may charge a small fee for their time.
  • During the visit, be aware of your total experience, including:
    • How easy – or difficult – was it to make the appointment.
    • Consider the way you are greeted by staff members when you arrive
    • Notice the length of time you spend waiting after you check in.
  • When interviewing the doctors
    • Feel free to ask tough questions.
    • Make sure you feel comfortable with his/her responses and that you are both on the same page when it comes to medications, treatments for chronic issues, and other factors important to you.
    • Consider the PCP’s bedside manner. If your personalities don’t align it will be hard to build trust.
  • Review Your Choice – Following the interview, carefully review the experience. If you weren’t happy with the outcome, continue your search. However, if all went well and the provider met your expectations, then it’s time to start building this very important relationship. You will rely on it for years to come.

About Dr. Gitomer

Richard Gitomer, MDRichard Gitomer, MD, is the President and Chief Quality Officer of the Emory Healthcare Network. Dr. Gitomer has been practicing internal medicine for more than 30 years at Emory.

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