Summary: The third Tuesday in September is Take a Loved One to the Doctor Day! This important day helps others to get the medical care they need but may not be able to get themselves to. This day was originally designed to help those in African American communities and those who lived in poverty, although now it has become a national campaign to remind all and bring awareness to the great need for all to have routine medical care. This September, reach out to your loved ones and make sure that they have access to the health care that they deserve!
Take a Loved One to the Doctor Day is recognized each September on the third Tuesday of the month. Beginning in 2002, this day was created to help others help their loved ones get the medical care and treatment that they deserve and desperately need. This day was made for those populations of people who do not have access to regular medical care or check-ups and encouraged family to better support each other.
In the United States, the history of medicine is often a tough pill to swallow. For those who are not white or male, getting the proper health and medical care in hour system was often patronizing and sometimes critically impossible. In the many ways that medicine has failed certain populations and cultures, the Center for Disease Control and Prevention began spreading awareness in different ways, reaching as many people as they could, to encourage regular medical care.
This day is also known as “Checkup Day,” and was created out of a partnership between radio host Tom Joyner and the Office of Minority Health, which is within the United States Department of Health and Human Services. Joyner first began this event to reduce the health disparity between Black Americans and the general population, to improve access to healthcare information, to better educate communities about the benefits of preventative medicine, and to increase accountability across Black communities to be more active in the health of loved ones.
After years of the world embracing this day, another foundation, AARP, picked up the cause and now promotes the cause. AARP’s campaign is a further collaboration that reminds everyone that going to the doctor, working out, eating right and making healthy decisions in life are all tools for a happier, healthier and longer life.
How You Can Help Your Family Member or Friend get to the Doctor
Once your family member has made an appointment and set up the day with you, consider doing these things before the visit:
- Help your friend or family member write down a list of questions to ask the doctor or nurse.
- Gather their health history information, including current conditions and past surgeries or illnesses.
- Gather their family’s health history information, including health conditions of their parents, brothers, and sisters.
- Help them make a list of all the medicines they take, including prescription drugs, over-the-counter drugs, supplements, and vitamins.
- Update your calendar and bring it to the appointment so you will be prepared to schedule a follow-up visit.
During the visit, your family member may rely on you to take notes and help them to later understand all that is being said. Consider these things during the appointment:
- Introduce yourself to the doctor or nurse and explain why you are there. Understand if the doctor asks to speak to your friend or family member in private during parts of the visit.
- Help your friend or family member go over the list of questions with the doctor or nurse, starting with the most important ones.
- Listen carefully to the answers and take notes. If you do not understand something, ask to have it explained until you do understand.
- Help your friend or family member explain their symptoms, health history, and any problems with medicines taken in the past.
- Ask follow-up questions during the visit. For example, if medicines are prescribed, ask about the possible side effects. If a test is ordered, ask what it’s for and what the results will tell you. If a specific treatment is recommended, ask if there are any other options to treat the condition and what might be expected from each.
- Tell the doctor or nurse if you have concerns about your friend or family member’s ability to follow the treatment plan.
- Ask the doctor or nurse if and when another visit should be scheduled.
After the appointment, you may still need to support your friend or relative in their medical care journey. Consider donating your time once a year to ensure they get their medical checkups, or, if you can, continue to take them to the doctor when they need to be seen. Here are some other things that may come up after the initial appointment:
- Discuss the visit with your friend or family member. If you forget or do not agree on something, call the doctor’s office and ask.
- Ask your friend or family member if they need help filling prescriptions or making appointments for tests, lab work, or follow-up visits.
- Call the doctor if your friend or family member has side effects from medications; if their symptoms get worse; or if they start taking any new medications, including prescriptions from another doctor, over-the-counter drugs, supplements, or vitamins.
- Remind your friend or family member to call the doctor to get the results of any tests they have had or to ask about test results they do not understand.
Remember, medical care is not a guarantee for many people in our world, for so many reasons. If you are able to help another human get the care that they need, you could be helping to save their life. If you know someone who needs to receive medical care but is not, reach out to them and find out why they are not receiving the care they need. If it is something you cannot help with, call your local health department and find out if there are any local resources you could share.
The Tom Joyner Morning Show