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Working with your Doctor - Making the Most of a Family Doctor Visit - DementiaGuide.com
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Working with Dementia

Making the Most of a Family Doctor Visit

For most cases of dementia, the family doctor plays the primary role in management and treatment of the disease. (For these reasons, family doctors are also known as 'primary care' physicians). Practices vary in different areas, but many family physicians feel quite comfortable managing most patients with dementia. Because of this, it is only sometimes necessary to see a specialist . It is important to have a family doctor that you trust and feel comfortable with. Family doctors are trained to listen to your problems, help you define them, determine if these problems fit with a known pattern, and then undertake whatever test to help confirm that pattern. This specific pattern of listening and asking is different from a social conversation if you tell someone about a problem that you are having, they often tell about a problem of their own. When you speak with a doctor, it's a chance for the conversation to be about your problems. This works best when you can provide specific information. The following are some tips to help make the most out of your visit with your family doctor.

  • If you have a specific concern about a particular behaviour or symptom that the person you care for is having, many people will feel most comfortable if they first meet with their family doctor to discuss their concerns alone. This way you can talk freely and confidentially, and you will not have to worry about having the person you care for disagreeing with you, becoming defensive or feeling embarrassed. Other people feel strongly that the person with dementia be included in all conversations about them. Recognizing that opinions vary, it is important for you to tackle this in whatever way suites you best. Should you choose the first option, you may consider arranging a second appointment with the person you care for, so your family doctor can discuss the issue with them separately.

  • If the person you care for is on any sort of drug therapy , it can help your family doctor if you bring a written list of the medications that they are on, or even bring in all of the medication bottles to your visit. Particularly, it is helpful to let your doctor know about any over-the-counter medications they are taking alongside their prescriptions. This can include things such as herbal remedies and vitamins. Make sure you include medications taken for diseases, or problems other than the dementia. This will help your doctor with any sort of adverse drug reactions that may occur.

  • It often helps your family doctor to better understand the symptom or behaviour that you are concerned about if you can tell them about specific examples. For example, if you find that the person you care for is having bladder control problems, be able to discuss specifics about it. What time of day does it usually happen? Did the person you care for realize what they did? Did they attempt to go to the bathroom? Some people find that it helps to write these details down, and go over the written account with their doctor.

See Also:
About Dementia > Treatments for Dementia > Adverse Drug Reactions
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Last updated December 4, 2018
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