A visit to a GP is an opportunity for the care home staff to proactively address the health needs of the residents. When health issues are communicated to the GP promptly and in the right way, better health outcomes can be achieved. For this, you, as a care home staff, have to make the most of the GP visit.
Here we discuss some useful tips to help you make the most of the GP visit:
- Prepare a list of questions to ask: Days leading up to visit, make a list of questions that you think are important to ask. The questions can be complicated or simple – they could be related to an existing medical condition or about getting a routine vaccine. Make sure that you write down your questions and discuss them with the concerned resident.
- Keep the paperwork ready: Prepare a list of residents whose GP appointment is due. Ensure that the GP has access to the individual care plans. Also, all the test results must be available for review. If the resident was admitted to a hospital, secure a nursing transfer letter and discharge summary. If there has been any change in the resident’s level of frailty, note down that information. Also, keep a note detailing whether previously discussed health outcomes have been achieved or not.
- Share the medication chart: Put together a current list of medications that residents are taking. Access to MAR sheets allows the GP to promptly review the current medication plan. As medication is an important part of the care provided to residents and any mistake in the administration process can turn out to be a serious one. Many care homes in the UK are shifting from MAR sheets to electronic medical records software. It offers a host of benefits, including that the software ensures the GP has easy access to all the accurate details of residents and cuts down time spent retrieving paperwork.
- Update the GP about new symptoms: As a caregiving staff, it’s your responsibility to share information about new symptoms and health concerns. For instance, if a resident struggles to sleep or has indigestion more than often, you must inform the GP. Changes in behavior such as irritation and anger or change in communication needs or dietary needs should be carefully noted and the GP must be informed about them. The more information the GP has, the better he or she can get to the bottom of the problem.
- Get a recap: Ask the GP to repeat the instructions that the resident and you’re supposed to follow. Write things down, so that nothing is missed after the appointment. The best way to do this is to take notes on electronic MAR sheets. If you have any doubts, ask the GP before updating the MAR sheets.