A common question we get is how to find a great primary care doctor. This is an important topic that seems to come up when taking care of aging parents or loved ones. When you are looking for a new doctor, use these tips to factor in your decision making.
Primary care doctor research
One of the most important steps in choosing a primary care doctor for your loved one is to do your homework. You should research several different doctors, talk to other people about their experiences and recommendations, and ask for recommendations from friends and family members. In addition, you should seek out any current or past patients of the primary care doctor that you are considering. This can help give you a better idea of what type of person he or she is and how they treat patients on a daily basis.
You may also want to call around to some hospitals and ask if they have any recommendations for a primary care doctor who specializes in geriatrics. Hospitals often have support staff that can provide you with helpful information regarding which doctors are best suited for caring for older adults as well as helping you find support groups in your area where others may be going through similar situations. If this doesn’t work out then try reaching out directly by calling local hospitals directly.
It’s also worth considering whether there might be other resources available nearby like assisted living facilities or senior care centers. These resources may offer recommendations for a primary care doctor.
We typically recommend that you seek out a primary care doctor that specializes in geriatrics. If there is not one in your area then look for a provider that has training in internal medicine or family medicine. Some key aspects of geriatrics include:
- Geriatricians specialize in the healthcare needs of older adults.
- Geriatrics is a subspecialty of internal medicine that focuses on preventing, diagnosing and treating diseases and disorders specifically related to aging.
Location and availability
When evaluating your options for a primary care doctor, here are a few things to consider when looking at the location and availability of the physician:
- Location. Is the office of the primary care doctor in a safe location? You want your loved one to be comfortable, but you also need to make sure that they are safe. If there are any safety concerns at all, this may not be the best place for them and you should keep looking.
- Accessibility. Ensure that the office is easily accessible if a wheelchair, walker or other medical equipment is required.
- Availability. Is the primary care doctor available during the times that are needed? For instance, do they offer an urgent care option as well?
When you’re visiting a new primary care doctor, it’s important to assess how the office staff interacts with patients. This can be done by observing their body language and asking questions about their experience and training. The best doctors will hire compassionate people who want to help others, so make sure that the office staff is friendly, compassionate, and willing to go above and beyond for their patients.
If you feel comfortable with this aspect of your visit to a new primary care doctor office, then it’s also important to ask them about their experiences with your doctor as well as how they feel about working there on a daily basis.
Other key things to look for:
As you search for a primary care doctor, look for caregivers who have training in working with older patients. You’ll want to make sure your loved one sees a medical group that ideally has geriatric experience or a geriatrician on staff. A geriatrician is a physician who specializes in the needs of older adults and has additional training to work closely with other medical professionals like nurses and social workers.
You can always learn more about the training for a primary care doctor online.If the training information is not listed online, you can always ask them for that information. Additional information to look for is:
- Are they friendly?
- Is their license in good standing?
- Do they have advanced training or certifications?
- Are they in network with your insurance (i.e. BCBS)?
- How long have they been practicing as a primary care doctor?
GreySteps is where you will learn how to find the best senior care options for yourself or loved ones. We provide guides and resources for independent living, long-term acute care hospitals, hospice and other senior care options.