If you are preparing to visit the neurologist with a loved one that may have a cognitive impairment, it's important to prepare yourself and your loved one ahead of time. Setting realistic expectations before you go makes you more likely to leave feeling hopeful instead of frustrated. Here are some tips to help you prepare to visit the neurologist with your loved one:
You probably will not get an answer on the first visit.
You are not likely to receive a diagnosis on the first visit. This may seem frustrating, but it is important for the doctor to be right, and providing an accurate opinion can take time. The neurologist may need to complete different tests and assessments, including blood work, imaging, or a psychiatric evaluation, among other things, and all of these tests can take time to be scheduled and then receive the results.
Prepare to be asked lots of questions.
A crucial part of a neurologist's assessment is collecting a thorough physical and mental health history. This usually includes being asked many questions to ensure the doctor has all the info needed to assess your loved one's situation accurately. If the neurologist's office has any paperwork or online questionnaires that can be filled out before the appointment, we advise you to do so; that way, your time can be better spent during the appointment and allow the doctor to review the answers in advance.
Prepare your loved one for an involved physical exam.
Despite a neurologist's area of specialty being the brain and nervous system, they use varying physical tests to determine if the brain and nervous system are functioning properly. This may include touching the patient's face, asking them to push or pull, or checking their reflexes with a soft rubber hammer. Depending on how your loved one is doing, this may or may not require preparation. Preparation might be needed in some cases, especially for those experiencing agitation who do not like to be touched much. You know your loved one best!
What should I do next?
We have helped many family members in your shoes at Carolina Family Estate Planning! We understand the difficulties you're encountering with your loved one as they accept they need help and for you as a relative that only wants the best for them. Our goal is to relieve stress by mapping the way through for you.
Please request a copy of our free guide Hope for Caregivers, or call our office at 919-899-2606 to discuss the best way for you to navigate how to help them.