Navigating a New Medical Clinic: What You Need to Know

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Our health is priceless, and as a senior citizen, it is important to prioritize it by making regular visits to a neighborhood, trustworthy health and wellness center or medical clinic. There are many reasons why a senior citizen may want to change their doctor or medical clinic. Perhaps they’ve moved to a new area, or their current provider is retiring. Maybe they’ve had a negative experience with their current provider, or they’re looking for a specialist to treat a specific condition.  


Whatever the reason, finding a new healthcare provider can be an opportunity for seniors and their caregivers to access new resources and explore different options for improving their health and wellness. That’s why we have put together this comprehensive guide to help seniors as well as their caregivers navigate their first appointment at a new health center with confidence.

In this blog post, we will share everything one needs to know, from scheduling an appointment to understanding what to expect during and after the visit. Read on to learn more. 

Scheduling the Appointment: What You Need to Know

How to Make a New Hassle-Free Doctor’s Appointment

When it comes to scheduling a doctor’s appointment, senior citizens should keep the following things in mind.  

Easing the Process of Getting an Appointment

Many health care centers and clinics now offer online doctor consultation services, making it easier for seniors to schedule and conduct appointments from the comfort of their own homes. They can make an appointment online for an in-person consult and visit the center later.  

Information to have ready when making the appointment

  • Full name of the patient and date of birth 
  • Insurance information, if applicable 
  • A list of any current prescription medications  
  • Any questions or concerns 

Many health care centers may require you to fill in the paperwork online prior to the appointment to save time during the in-person visit. In that case, you need to be ready with all the above information beforehand and complete the online application process.    

Questions to ask when scheduling the appointment 

  • Are there any pre-appointment preparations I should take before the appointment, such as fasting or avoiding certain medications? 
  • Can I request a specific healthcare provider for my appointment, or will I be assigned to someone based on availability? 

Questions that might be asked to the patient

  • Is this appointment for a routine physical exam, annual physical exam, or a sudden medical concern/emergency? 
  • What existing medical conditions do you have, if any? 


Pre-Appointment Prep: Getting Ready for the Visit 

Preparing for a medical appointment can help you get the most out of their visit. Here are some things you can do to prepare for their appointment:

Gathering necessary information and medical records

Make sure to gather all the necessary information and medical records before the appointment. This may include one’s medical history, previous test results, list of prescription medicines, and insurance information. One can contact their primary care physician or previous health care clinic to request copies of these records. 
Individuals should keep the copies of all their health records handy, because some clinics may take time to retrieve patient records at short notice, which may create a problem especially if a person must go for a sudden medical appointment or in case of an emergency  

Preparing a list of questions for the provider

One should take some time to write down any questions or concerns they may have for their healthcare provider. This can help one ensure that all their questions are addressed, and nothing is forgotten during the appointment. Some examples of questions may include:  

  • Why did this problem occur? How badly has it affected me?  
  • What are all the medications you are prescribing? Do I have any risk factors for this problem? 
  • Any dos and don’ts you may recommend before and after my treatment?  
  • What can I do to ensure that this problem does not recur? 
  • Are there any recommended screenings or tests I should undergo based on my age and medical history? 
  • How can I improve my overall health and well-being through diet and exercise? 
  • What are the potential side effects of my current medications, and are there any alternatives we could consider? 
  • Are there any vaccinations I should consider getting? 
  • Is there any way I can contact you if I experience a medical emergency or urgent health issue outside of regular clinic hours? 

Get to know the location and parking situation 

It’s always a good idea to familiarize oneself with the location and parking situation before visiting a new healthcare center. This can help reduce stress and ensure timely arrival. If one has mobility concerns, they should inquire if there are any services available to help them access the healthcare facility. This could include things like wheelchair ramps, handrails, or getting assistance from staff members. 

The Day of The Appointment: Checking-In and Meeting the Provider

Things to Consider on the Day of Appointment

Even if it’s your first time visiting a new health care center, you can look forward to meeting new healthcare professionals who are committed to providing the best possible care for you. So, take a deep breath, relax, and enjoy the experience of prioritizing your health and wellness.   

How to dress and what items to bring for the appointment  

When going for a routine physical exam at a health care clinic or senior care services center, one should make sure to wear comfortable clothing that is easy to move around in. Make sure to bring your current prescriptions and any medical records or documents that your provider might need but were not submitted online during appointment scheduling.

Checking in and filling out paperwork  

On arriving at the health care center or clinic, the staff will check the patient in and provide them with some paperwork to fill out. It is important to fill out the forms accurately and honestly. If someone faces trouble filling out the forms or has any questions, they should not hesitate to ask for help.

Making the most of visiting the healthcare provider

During the visit, the provider generally asks some questions about the patient’s medical history, any current symptoms or concerns, and lifestyle. They may also perform a physical exam, which could include checking blood pressure, pulse, and other vital signs. 

Answering the provider’s questions truthfully and accurately is vital. It will enable an accurate diagnosis, which in turn will ensure correct treatment and the highest quality of care. If seniors or their caregivers have any trouble understanding the questions or are unable to express what they are feeling, it is crucial to understand the question and clarify, before answering. 

Moreover, one must convey their requirements and concerns to the provider. It is crucial to make sure they are aware of any pain or discomfort they may be feeling to help the physician understand their condition better. 

Finally, it is essential to clearly understand one’s prescriptions or medication instructions given by the provider. Individuals should ask questions if they are unsure about anything, such as dosages, potential side effects, duration of the medication, or interactions with other medications. 

By following these steps, one can make their routine physical exam at a new health care center or senior care services center a comfortable, meaningful and stress-free experience. 

After the Appointment: Next Steps

Once the appointment is over, one should be sure to check out at the front desk before leaving the health care clinic. This will ensure that the visit is properly recorded, and any necessary follow-up appointments or referrals are scheduled. 

Finally, it is also important to schedule any recommended follow-up appointments, such as an annual physical exam or specialist visit, as soon as possible. This can help ensure that any health concerns are caught and treated early on, potentially avoiding more complicated health issues down the line. 

The Bottom Line

Whether one needs to schedule their annual physical exam or has a health concern that requires immediate medical attention, contact EliteCare Health Centers, one of the best medical clinics in Florida that provides a wide range of senior care services including preventative care, annual physical exams, tests and screening, and more. Schedule an appointment with our board-certified primary care physicians and visit your nearest healthcare center.   

Navigating a New Medical Clinic What You Need to Know | Infographic

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