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The Consequences of Missed Medical Appointments for Seniors


Medical appointments, including GP, specialist, dentist, and allied health appointments, play an important role in aging well. However, senior Australians may miss medical appointments leading to untreated illness, worsening of health conditions, a failure to identify health conditions before they become problematic, hospitalisation, or even death. At Home Care Assistance, we understand there a variety of reasons why a person may miss a medical appointment with each reason having a different solution. Below we discuss both reasons for missing a medical appointment as well as possible solutions.

Reasons for Missing Medical Appointments

These include:

  1. Difficulty getting to an appointment due to physical or transportation barriers. Seniors who do not drive may not have an easy way to get to an appointment. Further, their physical health may mean they are not confident travelling to the medical appointment by themselves.

  2. Not understanding the importance of attending medical appointments.

  3. Difficulty making the appointment. This may be because the person has trouble hearing on the phone, or for some other reason such as feeling daunted when trying to set up an appointment time.

  4. Fear. Sometimes senior people – like any person – may avoid medical appointments due to concern regarding what they are likely to be told, and the potential impact of that information.

  5. Financial barriers. With rising costs of living, up to half of senior Australians have missed some type of medical appointment whether it be a GP, dentist, specialist, or allied health professional. However, the financial consequences of missing medical appointments tend to be higher than attending the appointment.

Potential Solutions for Missed Medical Appointments

If your loved one is missing their medical appointments, the first step is to find out the reason why. To encourage your loved one to be open with you, it is important to have this conversation in a calm manner with plenty of time to talk.  This gives them time and space to talk about why they are not attending the appointments. Possible solutions for the above reasons why medical appointments are not being attended include:

  1. Arrange transport. This could be taking the person to the appointment yourself or arranging for someone else to take them. It could also involve booking a taxis or Uber for the person. Alternatively, our Care Professionals at Home Care Assistance can provide transport to medical appointments as part of an in-home care package.

  2. Explain why the appointments are necessary. If your loved one does not feel appointments are necessary, explain to them the negative consequences of not attending appointments to help the understand why they should go.

  3. Make the appointment for them. If your loved one is not able to make the appointment, offer to make an appointment time for them.

  4. Provide support. If your loved one is fearful of attending a medical appointment, offer to go with them and reassure them that you will be there to support them regardless of the outcome.

  5. Look into financial assistance. Check to see if there are any subsidies or care plans your loved one might be eligible for if they are experiencing financial difficulties.

Attending medical appointments is an important part of aging well but remember, you cannot force someone to attend an appointment. If your loved one is not attending their medical appointments, have an open discussion to find out why and then you may be able to solve the issue. Our Care Professionals from Home Care Assistance can provide practical support in attending appointments as needed.

Support of an in-home care agency like Home Care Assistance, can bring enormous benefit and comfort to your quality of life while living independently at home.  Home Care Assistance has viable solutions when it comes to supporting independent living. For more information, get in touch with a Home Care Assistance near me today.  


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