Talking to the Doctor

A good rapport with this key team member can make all the difference.

Having an open dialogue with your loved one's doctor (or diabetes educator) can be extremely valuable if you are a caregiver. The more you know about the doctor's approach and treatment strategy, the better prepared and the more effective you will be in your all-important role. For one thing, a good relationship with the doctor will be a major plus in the event that you ever have to talk to him or her during an emergency.

A good way to get started is to come to appointments prepared; make sure to remember to bring any significant records (blood glucose logs, medication status, lab results, etc.) and a list of your questions with you. Not only will you glean important information you may not otherwise get, you will also be opening up the window for an open and productive conversation. Here are some questions you may want to ask:

Newly Diagnosed?

1. What type of diabetes does my loved one have?

2. Will he/she have to take insulin or other medications?

3. Are there any side effects from taking insulin or medication?

4. Will he/she always have to take insulin or medication?

5. Does he/she have to eat a special diet?

6. What are his/her blood glucose level goals?

7. How does he/she check his/her blood glucose levels at home?

8. Can he/she still exercise or play sports?

9. What kinds of lifestyle changes does he/she have to make?

10. Are there any warning signs or symptoms we should look out for?

11. What is the most important thing I can do as a caregiver?

Already Living with Diabetes?

1. What are his/her blood glucose level goals?

2. How often should he/she be checking blood glucose levels at home?

3. Are there new insulin or insulin delivery methods to consider?

4. When was his/her last hemoglobin A1c test and what were the results?

5. When was his/her last dilated eye exam? What were the results?

6. When was his/her last lipid profile test? What were the results?

7. Do you detect any problems with his/her feet?

8. When was the last time he/she was checked for microalbuminuria (the earliest benchmark for kidney disease)?

9. Should we be concerned about other diabetes complications, such as heart disease or stroke?

10. What can he/she do to lessen the risks of complications?

11. What is the most important thing I can do as a caregiver?

Remember, you, the doctor, and the patient are a team. The best route to success is good communication and cooperation among all the members of that team.


Last Modified Date: October 31, 2013

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by Carey Potash
James Joyce said that “mistakes are the portals of discovery.” I wonder if insulin levels have been our mistake. Could it be that this hellish week of blood sugars were somehow meant to be? Drastic times call for drastic measures, right? Maybe we were too afraid in the past to take the plunge into drastic measures. Maybe this is oddly what we needed. We had to be truly frightened in order to make bigger, bolder changes. ...