“Don’t Worry; I’ll Take Notes For You”

Medical Note Takers

With families dispersed throughout the country and the world, a needs gap has developed.  Having someone else accompany a senior and take notes during doctors’ visits is gaining popularity as an additional way to care for the elderly.  This is especially important with children at work or living in faraway cities. These medical note takers are another set of ears during the meeting and can also remind the patient of any questions they had been meaning to ask.  They do the physical recording of the minutes of the meeting and can then make them available to loved ones that were unable to attend.  This service usually is in tandem with actually driving the patient to their appointment.

A recent article in USA Today149088974, “Medical note takers help keep the information straight”  gives a brief overview of efforts in this area.  Up to this point, volunteers have conducted this service in various neighborhood organizations, but that may be changing.  Northwest Neighbors Village, an organization in Washington, D.C. has been offering this service since 2007. They are beginning a program to train these notetakers with grant money from the city. In the past, these notetakers have generally been completely untrained.  In addition to specific concerns, the note takers will come with prepared questions and make the information available after the meeting.  These “Med-Pal” volunteers are modeled off of other US organizations.

Benefits of Having a Medical Note Taker

Having a note taker is a good way to keep the patient focused and, if s/he does lose focus, is an excellent back up for patients who have to digest often complicated diagnoses and treatments.  Furthermore, the elderly who often have arthritis making writing difficult or trouble hearing.  These make retaining the information beyond the meeting time quite difficult.  The notes also enable the patient to take the time to mull over the information and enable them to consult more efficiently with those they need to.

Tips for Medical Note Taking

Northwest Neighbors Village offers these tips regarding keeping records of the meeting with the doctor. 

1.    Have clear goals for the appointment with the doctor.
2.    Bring lists of:
a.    Questions from the patient and concerned family members
b.    Medications taken and at what intervals
c.     Symptoms being experienced
3.    At the close of the meeting, summarize what was said with the doctor as well as the recommendations for next steps.
4.    Record the doctor’s confirmation.
5.    Write everything down and do not leave things to anyone’s memory.


At David York Agency, we could provide direction as to how to manage the total care of your senior loved one.  Please call us at (718) 376-7755 or visit us on our website www.davidyorkagency.com to become acquainted with all we offer.


Source: http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/nation/2014/02/27/medical-note-takers/5161267/
Medical note takers help keep the information straight
Susan Jaffe, Kaiser Health News6:08 p.m. EST February 27, 2014