Your doctor may send you to a specialist for further evaluation, or you may request to see a specialist yourself. Your insurance plan may require you to have a referral from your Talking with specialistprimary doctor. A visit to the specialist may be short. Often, the specialist already has seen your medical records or test results and is familiar with your case. If you are unclear about what the specialist tells you, ask questions.

For example, if the specialist says you have a medical condition that you aren’t familiar with, you may want to say something like: “I don’t know much about that condition. Could you explain what it is and how it might affect me?” or “I’ve heard that is a painful problem. What can be done to prevent or manage the pain?”

You also may ask for written materials to read, or you can call your primary doctor to clarify anything you haven’t understood.

Ask the specialist to send information about any diagnosis or treatment to your primary doctor. This allows your primary doctor to keep track of your medical care. You also should let your primary doctor know at your next visit how well any treatments or medications the specialist recommended are working.

Questions to Ask Your Specialist

  • What is my diagnosis?
  • What treatment do you recommend? How soon do I need to begin the new treatment?
  • Will you discuss my care with my primary doctor?

If You Need Surgery

In some cases, surgery may be the best treatment for your condition. If so, your doctor will refer you to a surgeon. Knowing more about the operation will help you make an informed decision about how to proceed. It also will help you get ready for the surgery, which makes for a better recovery.

Ask the surgeon to explain what will be done during the operation and what reading material, videos, or websites you can look at before the operation.

Find out if you will have to stay overnight in the hospital or if the surgery can be done on an outpatient basis. Will you need someone to drive you home? Minor surgeries that don’t require an overnight stay can sometimes be done at medical centers called ambulatory surgical centers.

Questions to Ask Your Surgeon

  •  What is the success rate of the operation? How many of these operations have you done successfully?
  • What problems occur with this surgery? What kind of pain or discomfort can I expect?
  • What kind of anesthesia will I have? Are there any risks associated with its use in older people?
  • Will I have to stay in the hospital overnight? How long is recovery expected to take? What does it involve? When can I get back to my normal routine?

Seeking a Second Opinion

When patients are diagnosed with a serious illness or surgery is recommended, patients often seek a second opinion. Hearing the views of two different doctors can help you decide what’s best for you. In fact, your insurance plan may require it. Doctors are used to this practice, and most will not be insulted by your request for a second opinion. Your doctor may even be able to suggest other doctors who can review your case.

Always remember to check with your insurance provider in advance to find out if a second opinion is covered under your policy, if there are restrictions to which doctors you can see, and if you need a referral form from your primary doctor.

For More Information About Talking with Specialists

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)
1-800-232-4636 (toll-free)
1-888-232-6348 (TTY/toll-free)
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
www.cdc.gov

Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services
1-800-633-4227 (toll-free)
1-877-486-2048 (TTY/toll-free)
www.medicare.gov

MedlinePlus
National Library of Medicine      
www.medlineplus.gov

Hidden Meadows on the Ridge is a senior care community in Upper Bucks' County, less than 30 miles north of Philadelphia.  With 54 private and shared living studies, Hidden Meadows on the Ridge provides a peaceful setting where seniors can maintain their independence while having access to professional personalized services and nursing care.  Hidden Meadows on the Ridge is a pet friendly community. The Laurels, our newly designed memory care residence, offers 48 private or shared rooms. Tucked in the beautiful, serene Bucks County countryside, Hidden Meadows on the Ridge understands and addresses seniors’ concerns of preserving their independence while maintaining their physical health and safety, and mental health and providing peace of mind for family members and caregivers. See http://www.hiddenmeadowsontheridge.com/

 

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Hidden Meadows offers several assisted living options to meet your individual preferences, and your health and social needs. We will assist you with customizing your spacious living quarters with your own furnishings, or if you prefer, choose a furnished unit.


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The Laurels offers individuals with memory impairment a state-of-the-art neighborhood designed community, providing both privacy and an engaging lifestyle. While safety and security is our primary focus, residents enjoy our comfortable, home-like atmosphere.


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