A number of conditions that commonly affecting older patients will not be able to be treated in just one appointment. Instead, treatment will often be an ongoing process, involving shared decision making and reviews.
For that reason, when you first meet with your consultant at BMI Bath Clinic, they will spend a good amount of time talking with you in detail about your symptoms, your general health and about any concerns or worries you may have.
This appointment is your opportunity to talk about your symptoms in a safe, relaxed environment with somebody who understand and appreciates the particular challenges faced by older patients with health problems.
For example, many people are quite anxious about losing their independence because of health limitations. It is important to acknowledge these kinds of concerns as they have a big impact on your ability to enjoy life.
It can be helpful to have another person come with you to this appointment, and many people choose to bring a husband, wife, son, daughter or close friend with them. Having somebody else with you can help make sure you don’t forget to mention any symptoms or concerns. They will often remember things said by the consultant that you may have missed because you were concentrating on something else.
Having discussed your symptoms, both current and any previous ones, your consultant will carry out a full physical examination in order to assess your general health. This will involve checking things like your breathing, heart rate, mobility, flexibility and posture.
They may also carry out tests to measure your memory.
Once they have talked with you and carried out a physical examination, they will discuss the next steps with you. This may involve something related to your treatment, such as adjusting your medication (either dose, frequency or a change in the actual medication) or referring you for further investigations.
Common investigations include:
- CT or MRI scan of the brain, chest, abdomen or pelvis
- Lung function test
- 24-hour heart monitor (Holter monitor)
- Colonoscopy – to examine your bowels
- Balance assessment – carried out by our superb physiotherapists
The nature of General Medicine means that your consultant works very closely with specialist in other fields, including oncology, haematology, general surgery, gastroenterology and cardiology. All these specialities are available on-site at BMI Bath Clinic, making referral and assessment simple.
Once the results of any investigations are back, your consultant will meet with you again to talk through them and to discuss their recommended treatment plan. If you have any questions or concerns, they will be very happy to explore these with you.
It is always important that you have the information you need to make an informed choice about any treatment. If you are unsure or unclear about anything, always let your consultant know so that they can clarify things with you.
Treatment is an ongoing process involving close collaboration between you, your consultant and any family members you would like to be involved.