Preparing for Doctor Appointments

These resources, mostly from Parkinson's organizations, will help you prepare for appointments with your primary care physician, neurologist, or movement disorder specialist, to make the most of your visit.  

Worksheets and symptom trackers are a great way to help you become more aware of the timing and characteristics of your symptoms, document those symptoms, note changes, and prioritize issues to discuss with your doctor.

For a wide variety of symptom trackers, including printable PDFs, websites, and apps, see our Symptom Trackers page. 


Downloadable Documents | Online Articles | Podcasts & Webinars | Worksheets


Downloadable Documents

How to Get the Most Out of Your Neurologist Visit

Published by Parkinson's Canada

Page one of this two-page fact sheet provides a list of what to bring to a neurology appointment and communication tips like prioritizing your concerns, understanding your care plan, and being politely persistent between appointments. Page two is a "PD Summary" to complete before each appointment, which captures observations related to medication use, worsening symptoms, diet and appetite, and lifestyle.


Making the Most of Your Medical Appointment 

Published by the Parkinson's Foundation (formerly the National Parkinson Foundation)

This two-page bullet point fact sheet outlines what to bring to your appointment, as well as tips for making the appointment go smoothly and for ensuring you have all the information you need before you leave the clinic.


Online Articles

5 Ways to Maximize Your Next 15 Minutes with Your Doctor

By Tom Sheppard. Published by the Davis Phinney Foundation, April 19, 2018

After a grueling 2017 in which the author had 68 appointments with 13 different doctors in addition to physical therapy, radiation, three MRIs, and more, Tom chose to share the five ways he learned to maximize his time with doctors to make you a better advocate for yourself. 


Appointments with your healthcare team

Published by the European Parkinson Disease Association

This article discusses sharing information with your care team about managing daily activities, mood and non-motor symptoms, embarrassing problems, and how your care partner is coping. Also discussed is planning the logistics of your appointment, prioritizing topics to discuss, tips for making the appointment productive, talking about medications, and more. 


Doctor Appointments: Tips for Caregivers

Published by the NIH National Institute on Aging

If you go with the person you care for to see his or her doctor, this short page offers nine tips that will help you be an ally and an advocate. Also included is a one-minute video with suggestions for making the most of your doctor visit, and some signs the person you care for may be depressed.


Finding a Movement Disorder Specialist in Your Area

Published by parkinsonsdisease.net, February 9, 2018

This short page talks briefly about the benefit of having different specialists on your care team, what a movement disorder specialist (MDS) is, how to find an MDS, and tips for your first appointment.


How to Get the Most out of Your Doctor's Appointment

By Rachel Dolhun, MD. Published by the Michael J. Fox Foundation, April 4, 2018

Dr. Dolhun recommends taking an active role in your care, like reading about Parkinson's, preparing for visits and speaking up and asking questions. She offers six tips to get more out of each visit.


How to Make the Most of Your Doctor's Visit

By Michael Church. Published by parkinsonsdisease.net, January 4, 2018

This short page recommends preparing in advance for doctor visits by bringing a list of questions and things to discuss, keeping a symptom journal and bringing it with you, asking for a medication review, bringing a companion to keep you accountabe and take notes, and volunteering for clinical trials.


Making the Most of Your Telemedicine Doctor Visit

By Rachel Dolhun, MD. Published by the Michael J. Fox Foundation, April 21, 2020

The focus of this article is on telemedicine, including testing the technology before your appointment, ensuring you are in a place with enough light and space for the doctor to see you walk, and having equipment your doctor may ask you to provide (thermometer, blood pressure cuff, etc.), etc. Just like an in person appointment, prior to a telehealth appointment you should still provide your doctor with a current list of medications, questions or topics to discuss, changes to your Parkinson's symptoms or health, etc.


Preparing for a Medical Appointment

Published by the Parkinson's Foundation

Although this comprehensive page is directed at care partners, the tips are just as helpful for people with Parkinson's, including tips for scheduling an appointment, what to bring, managing your appointment time, and how to follow up if you have more questions. Links to printable symptom diary, medication list, and more worksheets are handy.


Visiting the Neurologist

Published by Parkinson Association of the Rockies

This short page has a four ways to get organized for an appointment with a neurologist and a few suggestions for what to bring to the appointment to get the most out of your time.


Podcasts & Webinars

Preparing for a Visit with the Neurologist

By the American Parkinson Disease Association, Massachusettes Chapter, September 20, 2022

In this 40-minute webinar Movement Disorder Specialist Katelyn Bird, MD, discusses how to best prepare for the next appointment with your neurologist, and how to make the most of each visit.

 


What to Expect at an Appointment with a Movement Disorder Specialist

By Partners in Parkinson's, Jul 30, 2014

This seven-minute video explains why you may want a movement disorder specialist (MDS) on your care team, what a MDS is looking for during an appointment, and the care partner's role on the care team. 

 


Worksheets

Complete and print these forms before each doctor visit to provide your physician with the information they need for your best care and to facilitate communication.


Tools to prepare for a doctor appointment

Published by the Parkinson's Foundation

The Medical Appointment Worksheet (PDF) helps you prioritize issues to discuss, present a current medication list, remind your doctor of your living situation and care routine, and provides space to take notes during the appointment. 

Page one of the Medications and Schedule Worksheet (PDF) allows you to list medications, dosages, and the reason each medication was prescribed. Page two charts dosing schedules with space to make notes about side effects, wearing off, etc. 


Parkinson's Worksheets, Checklists, and Assessments

Published by the Davis Phinney Foundation

The worksheets on this page are a great way to help you become more aware of the timing and characteristics of your symptoms, document those symptoms, note changes and discuss them with your doctor. Fill them out right from your computer or tablet. Simply click on the field where you want to enter information and begin typing or click a box to check something off and then save your file. You can then print it out and take it to your next appointment, conversation or treatment.


Last updated October 2022 by Stanford Parkinson's Community Outreach