Your Visit to the Neurologist: A Check-up Checklist

Making the Most out of Your Visit to the Neurologist                                          A Check-up Checklist  

 By Lawrence I. Golbe, M.D.

People with Parkinson’s disease (PD) typically visit their neurologist two to four times a year. As you or your loved one may have experienced, it can be challenging during these rare visits to communicate all of your questions about your condition and your overall health.

How can you maximize your time with your doctor and leave your appointment confident that all your concerns have been addressed? The best thing you can do is to come equipped not only with the right information, but also with the right questions.

Start by organizing your health information and questions in advance. Arrive early so that you can complete your insurance forms and other paperwork ahead of time. Try to bring all of the items discussed below and answer all of the questions listed. These preparations can help both you and your doctor to optimize your care.

  1. What To Bring to Your Appointment
    Before you arrive, especially if it’s your first visit, be sure to ask the doctor’s office what pertinent information you should bring.

Important items will likely include:
• Notes from previous doctors’ histories and examinations
• Lab/test reports
• Films or CDs of brain imaging (not just the radiologists’ reports)
• Information about your medication history (For each medication, it is helpful to know the duration of treatment and the maximum dosage in the past, as well as any benefits or side effects you may have experienced)

Upon your arrival, give your nurse or doctor any other paperwork that may require your doctor’s signature.

Examples of such items include:
•  A list of prescriptions to be refilled
•  Disability forms to be completed
•  Request for handicapped parking
•  Anything else that requires the doctor’s sign-off  (e.g., request to be excused from work)

  1. What Information to Share
    During your visit, share with your doctor details about your medications, your Parkinson’s symptoms (new and existing) and other health issues you may be experiencing. It may be helpful to make a list of each problem area in advance to make sure you don’t leave anything out.

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