Navigating the health care system can be challenging, but an expert urges older people not to try to go at it alone.
“It’s common for someone who hasn’t had any health problems suddenly to be faced with their own issues and the need to navigate the health care system,” says Maria Radwanski, manager of care transitions and outpatient adult care management at Penn State Health Milton S. Hershey Medical Center.
If you are having a challenging time navigating the health care system, these tips can help:
1. Rely on friends and loved ones
“Talk with friends who’ve been dealing with health concerns — especially if they’ve been in the hospital — to hear about their experiences so you have a better idea of what it might be like,” Radwanski said in a Penn State Health news release.
2. Take someone with you to your appointment
Another tip: Ask a trusted friend or loved one to accompany you to medical appointments.
“It’s so important for a patient to understand what the doctor says,” according to Radwanski. “Often, a patient won’t fully digest what the doctor’s saying. I advise seniors to have someone else at the appointment with a pen and paper to write everything down and make sure there’s appropriate follow-up.”
When they see a doctor, older patients should bring an updated list of health concerns — including any changes in their medical history or new symptoms — as well as a list of all current prescription and over-the-counter medications they take, including any supplements, along with their dosages.
Some people may find it easier to bring all their