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Tips to help caregivers with medical appointments

Posted: March 07, 2022

Last updated date: March 07, 2022

If you’re a caregiver to a family member or friend with an ongoing medical condition, you probably go to a lot of their medical appointments. You probably touch base with people on their medical care team regularly too. Use these tips to help you stay organized. And make sure your family member or friend gets the best possible care.

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Before the appointment

  • If you’re one of a group of caregivers, make sure everyone knows about the upcoming appointment.
  • Remind the person you’re caring for about the appointment at least a week ahead.
  • Ask the person under your care if they have any concerns or questions. Write these down in your caregiver log and bring them with you.
  • When making the appointment, it may help to ask what will happen. For example, will blood be taken? Also, get a general time frame. The more information you know going in, the easier it is to get ready. It may also save your friend or family member from getting nervous or scared.
  • You may want to call the health plan for the person under your care. Tell them about the appointment and any others you have scheduled. That way, you can find out if there’ll be any out-of-pocket costs.
  • Will you need a wheelchair or any other support? Call ahead to get things set up before you arrive. Learn more about caregiving for people with disabilities.
  • Get all paperwork organized, as well as current health plan ID and/or Medicaid and Medicare card(s).

At the appointment

  • If possible, it’s a good idea to let the person under your care answer the provider’s questions. (Unless the provider asks you a question, of course.)
  • Be sure to include the person you’re caring for in all discussions with providers. Don’t talk about them as if they’re not in the room.
  • Bring an up-to-date list of all medications and supplements.
  • Take notes when a medical professional shares information with the person in your care.
  • If you don’t understand something or you can tell there’s confusion, ask the provider to explain things in a different way.
  • Go through the list of questions and concerns that you prepared ahead. Even better, bring 2 copies so you can give the provider a copy.
  • Respect the privacy of the person you’re caring for. Leave the room when necessary.

After the appointment

  • Fill prescriptions and get any medical equipment needed right away. (These are great tasks for someone else to do if they’ve been asking how they can help you.)
  • Set up any follow-up appointments, if needed.
  • On the way home, ask your friend or family member about the appointment and what the provider said.
  • Remember, medical visits can be stressful. Be a good listener and let them share their feelings.

Some health plans can make life easier for caregivers too

Does the person you care for qualify for both Medicaid and Medicare? If so, they may want to look into a dual-eligible health plan. These plans are also known as Dual Special Needs Plans. Dual-eligible plans are a type of Medicare Advantage plan. They work together with the member’s state Medicaid plan, which helps make it easier to understand what’s covered by Medicaid and what’s covered by Medicare.

UnitedHealthcare dual plans also include care coordination. That’s a big help when you’re working with multiple doctors, specialists and care services. And it makes life a lot easier for caregivers as well as members.

See UnitedHealthcare plans in your area.

Dual-eligible or Medicaid plan benefits can change depending on where you live. Search using your ZIP code to find the best plan to meet your health care needs.