Many of us Boomers go along in our day to day routines in a nonchalant way. Then when something out of the ordinary happens we wonder why there is so much stress. Some things could have been prevented or taken care of more easily if only we had been more knowledgeable or prepared before being confronted with a situation. I will list some things that any Boomer might want to think about which could save you time, money and stress in health care.
- If you usually just see one physician, that physician knows the medications that you are taking. There are times though that we are referred to a specialist or end up in the emergency room unexpectedly. Therefore, have a list of all your medications written down with the dosages and times that you take the medication. The note area in your cell phone is a good place to put this if you normally carry your cell phone with you.
- Some medications are dosages of 25 mg. and some may be . 025mg. The small period is very important in order to ensure the proper dosage is given. Always check this on your prescriptions for accuracy. There are medications that this could mean a life or death situations. Rule of thumb; Check for periods and always even double check after your pharmacist or health care provider.
- Know the names of the medications that you take and why you take them.
- After having a prescription filled always check the bottle label. Make sure it is the correct medication and the correct dosage before taking it. Just the other day I found that one of my medications said 1/2 per day when in fact it was suppose to say 1/2 taken 2 x per day.
- When it is near a holiday, week end, or vacation, make sure that you have enough medications to last until your physician is back in the office. Also pick your prescription up early in the day when possible in case your doctor needs to be called. Some pharmacies close early also.
- Know how your insurance covers. Know the difference from in network and out of network. Checkout online sites like Consumers Advocate.org for the best reviews of carriers. This can save you money.
- When going to the emergency room most providers will collect your insurance copay at the time of service. A lot of insurance companies will wave that co pay if you are admitted from the emergency room into the hospital. For me, I found it easier to get my copay back if this has been collected in error right at that time if at all possible. Later down the line it takes more time when you may need that money to pay for something else.
- When going to a health care facility to be registered for out patient or in patient services, know what an advanced directive is prior to that process. If you have an advanced directive then take it with you. If you do not and feel you need one, then it will save time to get that prior to the day you are registered. This normally requires a notary and can save a lot of time depending on how the facility takes care of such manners.
- If your service requires a co pay or out of pocket payment then have your credit card, check book or cash with you.
- If you are a single person it is always good to have a friend or relative that knows where your important papers are kept before an emergency happens.
- If you have allergies to ANYTHING know what they are. This might save your life.
- If being admitted into a hospital, it is good to know simple medical terminology such as, what is a clear liquid diet or a full liquid diet. You can then check your own meal tray for accuracy.
- When one is ill, it is difficult to remember names of important people, their titles, or departments that they may work with on your case. Things go very fast. Do not hesitate if you need to write them down or ask more than once a name or question. It is your right. You are the patient.
- Yes, I know most of us have our telephone numbers in our cell phones. Do you have a written list? What if there is an emergency and your phone looses its charge.
- Last but Not Least! Remember, when a person is ill, we are not always our best self. It is easy to be cranky, forgetful and lack patience. That is expected. When possible though remember to show your appreciation and say thank you. Then on the other hand if your treatment is not as it should be then speak up, question things, ask for clarification and above all remember you deserve respect and your dignity at ALL TIMES!
Good luck on your next health care visit. It is important for all of us Boomers to help each other.