5 Essential Qualities in Primary Care Doctors for Aging Adults

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Every senior needs a primary care physician to coordinate his or her medical services. Without one, medications and treatments provided by different clinicians can conflict with each other. To optimize your aging loved one’s health, his or her primary doctor should have certain senior-friendly qualities. When considering a physician, select one with the following traits. 

1. Trustworthiness

Among the doctor’s credentials should be board certification. On physician review websites, background checks should show a blemish-free malpractice history, with no sanctions, disciplinary actions, or board actions. When the doctor orders tests, they’re solely in the best interests of the seniors he or she cares for, not for profit. Billing statements reflect actual services, not false ones to boost reimbursements. 

The doctor should be prompt and reliable, whether returning phone calls, completing medical forms, or fulfilling promised aspects of care. When starting new treatments, the doctor follows up with seniors, asking to see them again or calling within a specific time frame. Meeting these criteria shows the doctor has integrity.

Finding a trustworthy doctor is just one of the difficult tasks you may face as a family caregiver. One of the most challenging tasks of helping an elderly relative age in place safely and comfortably is researching agencies that provide at-home care. Turn to Home Care Assistance for reliable, high-quality in-home care for aging adults. We offer 24-hour live-in care for seniors who require extensive assistance, and we also offer respite care for family caregivers who need a break from their caregiving duties.

2. Respectfulness

Seniors should be treated with courtesy and dignity when seeing their doctors. Frailty should be regarded with gentleness and dementia with compassion. The doctor you choose should be gracious, diplomatic, and nonjudgmental toward seniors so they feel comfortable speaking freely. The physician should validate the concerns of elders and their caregivers, not dismissing worries as irrelevant. 

The doctor endeavors to include seniors in discussions and decisions regarding their medical care. If your loved one shows apparent cognitive loss, social withdrawal, or disability, the doctor should acknowledge his or her presence and refrain from ignoring your parent or talking over his or her head. The doctor’s professionalism needs to be consistent and evident in all interactions, including those with staff members. 

3. Attentiveness

The physician should maintain direct eye contact and listen carefully without interrupting when seniors and their caregivers speak. The doctor should be observant of body language, skillfully interpreting nonverbal clues to aid in diagnosis and treatment. Being detail oriented is another hallmark of attentive clinical care. Through in-depth questioning, evaluation, and documentation, doctors can protect seniors from drug and treatment errors. With the right physician, questions are welcomed and answered in language that seniors and family members can understand. 

In addition to attentive primary physicians, seniors may also need help going to the doctor regularly. Amarillo in-home care experts are available to provide high-quality care to seniors on an as-needed basis. From assistance with mobility and exercise to providing transportation to the doctor’s office and social events, there are a variety of ways professional caregivers can help your aging loved one continue to live independently.

4. Patience

When interacting with others, the doctor needs to be composed and easygoing. Seniors receive ample time to respond to questions and instructions. The doctor readily and cheerfully adapts examinations to each individual senior’s health. For example, with a disabled person, the doctor might evaluate him or her in a chair, as opposed to the exam table. While speaking with a hearing-impaired senior, the doctor automatically sits closer or speaks more loudly. With seniors who have dementia or Alzheimer’s, the doctor is unflappable, easily coaxing cooperation and soothing agitation. A good clinician does whatever possible to make visits easier for people. 

5. Empathy

The right doctor for your loved one should be sensitive to human emotions. Mentally stepping into a person’s shoes, the senior-friendly physician understands the challenges of aging. Empathy is expressed through kind facial expressions, tone of voice, and body language. Your loved one should derive comfort and strength from the doctor’s caring manner.

A good primary care physician weighs his or her words before speaking. Choosing them carefully, the doctor considers how seniors will receive them, knowing the impact words can have. Seniors sense the physician is “in their corner,” like a dedicated coach. Caregivers and family members also feel supported, with the doctor on their team.

Finding a trustworthy and compassionate primary care doctor while managing other caregiving duties can be challenging. For some families, caring for a senior loved one can be overwhelming at times. Luckily, they can rely on professional respite care. Amarillo, TX, Home Care Assistance is a trusted name in respite and hourly care. Our caregivers are available around the clock to assist seniors with bathing, transportation, medication reminders, exercise, and much more, allowing families the time they need to focus on other important responsibilities or just take a break. Call us at (806) 803-9991 to learn about our comprehensive in-home care plans.