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6 Things to Consider When Choosing a Doctor for Older Parents

You and Your Aging Parents
Finding the best doctor for my older parents

This blog is part of a year-long series aimed at addressing some of the most frequently asked questions we hear from family and adult children on the topics most concerning them regarding their aging parents or loved one. In 2012 Hebrew SeniorLife published the eBook "You & Your Aging Parent: A Family Approach to Lifelong Health, Wellness & Care," a compilation of answers from HSL geriatric experts in response to the many of the most frequently asked questions. We're reposting some of the most popular Q&A posts from our original eBook which was downloaded over 2,000 times. We're also adding new Q&As throughout the series that address topics not originally included in our eBook. Subscribe to recieve our weekly blog post notifications on our homepage

How do I choose the right doctor for my parent?

There are numerous important elements to consider when selecting a physician for your aging loved ones. Evaluating the following criteria will help determine which doctor is best suited to care for your parent.

Experience – Review the physician’s education and training and ensure his/her board certifications are still current. You can find this information online or by asking the physician or their office’s receptionist directly.

• Personality and empathy – Before committing to a physician, schedule a brief 15-minute interview to help determine if his/her disposition and medical philosophy is the right fit with your parents.

Hospital affiliation – Confirm the doctor is affiliated with your parent’s preferred hospital and that the hospital is conveniently located.

•Availability – Find out the average wait time to see the doctor, if the practice offers same-day urgent appointments and if the doctor or his/her colleagues are available for calls after hours.  In addition, determine who the doctor of record will be if your parent is admitted to the hospital and what the system of communication will be with the hospital physician on admission, during hospitalization and then on discharge from the hospital.

Insurance – Check to ensure the practice accepts your parent’s medical insurance and, if not, find out if it is possible for your loved one to change medical plans.

Office – Look for a doctor whose office staff is friendly and organized. Offices that use electronic outpatient records and electronic prescribing are also preferable.

Jennifer Rhodes-Kropf, M.D.'s picture

About the Blogger


Dr. Rhodes-Kropf, is a staff geriatrician at HRC. She received her medical degree from the University of North Carolina and completed her internal medicine internship at the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania and her residency in internal medicine at Cornell University/New York Presbyterian Medical Center. Dr. Rhodes-Kropf, an instructor in medicine at Harvard Medical School, completed a geriatrics fellowship at Mount Sinai Hospital.

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