Coordinated Health Care

Multiple ailments typically mean multiple doctors and multiple care settings. Consider that each of your providers is most likely focused on managing one specific condition, not several, and so may be unaware of interventions prescribed by other doctors.

It's up to you or your caregivers to ensure that each doctor is aware of all your ailments, interventions and drugs so you're not left faced with conflicting medical advice, overlapping therapies, duplicate testing and potentially dangerous drug interactions or overdoses.

It's critical that one of your doctors, preferably your primary care physician or a geriatrician, knows your full health history and coordinates your care. Keep your primary care doctor or geriatrician apprised of all providers you consult.

Request that each specialist you visit send copies of your records to your primary care physician. Bring a list of all your drugs to each doctor visit. Every time a doctor prescribes a new prescription or therapy, ask how it will interact with your existing treatment.

At every visit, be sure you have a precise understanding of any changes to your care plan, including what's required of you—and that you keep your doctors informed of the outcomes that matter to you most. You can find additional patient and caregiver resources, including tips on managing multiple ailments and communicating with your doctors at the American Geriatrics Society website, Healthinaging.org.

Source: Prepared by the Editors of The Johns Hopkins Medical Letter: Health After 50

Publication Review By: the Editorial Staff at Healthcommunities.com

Published: 28 Jul 2013

Last Modified: 09 Jan 2015