Catching Up with Health Care Visits

Catching Up with Health Care Visits

by LaBrena Friend, LMSW 

Have you delayed health care visits to avoid potential exposure to Covid-19? If so, you are among millions of people who have postponed care, thinking the pandemic would be “over soon.”

By now, you may have missed nearly two years’ worth of screenings for cancer, diabetes and heart disease, as well as major vision, dental and mental health issues. This is a serious concern. Conditions that are treatable when caught early can be devastating or even deadly if caught too late. 

As a CJFS social worker, I have been encouraging my clients to resume regular health care visits, and I facilitate those visits as needed. If you need to “catch up” on health care, here are some steps that can help simplify the process and ensure effective communication:  

-First, make a list of all the practitioners you need to see.

-Call each provider to schedule a visit. The first available appointment may be weeks or months away, but if you have symptoms that need immediate attention, share this information and ask if an earlier date is possible given your symptoms.  

-Be sure to write down the appointment date, time and location.

-If you don’t drive, make a transportation plan for each appointment. Determine whether a friend or family member can drive you or perhaps you can use CJFS’ Buz-A-Bus or Just Like Family  services, or a ride-sharing service. Some insurance plans cover transportation costs for health care visits, so check to see if yours will.

-Before each visit, make a list of recent physical, mental or emotional changes you have experienced and any questions you want to ask. Making a list in advance helps ensure you cover everything and takes the pressure off you during the appointment.

-Bring a list of your medications, including the dosage and how often each is taken.

-Don’t be shy about asking questions or for clarification if the doctor says something you don’t understand–that’s why you are seeking his or her professional guidance and expertise!

-Will you need help remembering or writing down instructions from your provider? If so, consider asking a friend or family member to come along. Or call CJFS—our Case Managers can accompany you to the visit and assist.

CJFS Care Managers can coordinate and manage health care, as well as providing transportation, resource referral, emotional support and more. For more information, please contact Clinical Director Marcy Morgenbesser, marcy@cjfsbham.org or 205.879.3438.