Over the past more than forty years, many people have avoided leaving home as much as possible, not even to see their health care provider for regular checkups and other preventative care. As COVID-19 cases in the United States decrease, some are wondering how to prepare for non-COVID-related physician visits. Paul O’Rourke, MD, MPH, assistant professor of medicine at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine and associate director of the Johns Hopkins Bayview Internal Medicine Residency Program, has some suggestions.
Reflect on your main health issues and concerns before the appointment. “Write them down so you can review them during your visit,” O’Rourke says. “After a long time out, it’s helpful to come prepared and make sure you address issues that are important to you.”
Keep a list of your current medications and supplements, as well as documentation of vaccines (including the COVID-19 vaccine) that you have received elsewhere. “This allows your doctor to update your records and make sure you’re up to date with the recommendations,” O’Rourke says.
Prepare for certain aspects of your appointment to be different. “For example, waiting rooms have been rearranged to maintain physical distancing,” O’Rourke says. “Nurses and doctors are wearing facial covers now. And some clinics will ask you to take a COVID-19 test before your appointment.”
“The hesitation is understandable,” O’Rourke adds. “It has been a very stressful time for everyone. But it is important that patients return to medical and preventive care services and that everyone knows that medical clinics take precautions to minimize the risk of acquiring COVID-19. “
O’Rourke cites three main reasons for patients to return to their doctors: address any current health issues; to address any chronic medical condition, such as diabetes or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease; and receive preventive health tests.
For those still worried about returning to their doctor, O’Rourke encourages them to contact their doctor’s office.
“Your healthcare providers want you to be safe,” he says. “Contact them and request information on COVID-19 security procedures if you need security to return.”
Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine
Citation: What to Expect and Prepare to Return to Regular Health Care Appointments (2021, June 4), retrieved June 5, 2021 at https://medicalxpress.com/news/2021-06-regular- health.html
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