When visiting a health care provider, doctor, nurse practitioner, physician assistant, physical therapist, and pharmacist, we are often asked at the end of the visit, “Do you have any questions?” The most common answer is, “No.” But what is behind that “No”? I have been told many times, by folks that I have counseled, that they never know what to ask. Do you find yourself in the same predicament? Well, the next step in the process of deprescribing is to formulate questions to ask your health care providers.
Truth be told, I love to ask questions! My kids, my husband, and my students all know this about me. After counseling patients during medication reviews, I often hear them say, “Now I have questions to ask. I feel that I can have a better conversation with my doctor.” Knowledge is empowering, having the knowledge to ask questions is also empowering. So where do we begin? Great question! Be certain to fill out the Medication List Template under ‘Templates and Resources’.
- What medications are you taking that you are uncertain of continuing or its need?
- If you are taking five or more medications, you may ask, are all these meds needed?
- Think about the non-prescription products you take, are those necessary?
- How many medications are you taking to treat one health condition, are they all necessary?
- I have been taking this medication for years, is it still needed, and is it dosed correctly for my age, weight, kidney function, and with other medications I take?
- Tell the provider that you want to take a proactive approach to reducing your risk of poor outcomes as you age, especially preventing falls and cognition deficits, or any other concern you may have. Ask if any of the medications you take could increase your risk of falls or cognitive deficits.
Let’s work on deprescribing and optimizing medications before any injuries, falls, traffic accidents, side effects, drug interactions, or drug toxicities occur. Our bodies change as we age. The medications we take may need to be changed as well to keep us safe and upright. Remember, this is a process that takes time, not just a one-time question at one office visit or pharmacy visit. Keep reading my blog weekly to continue the process. This is just the start of the questions.