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.
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.
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.
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.
Published by the Lewy Body Dementia Association
Breaking down a medical appointment into eight steps is comprehensive. It includes understanding the purpose for meeting, knowing how to describe symptoms and symptom changes, and the importance of follow through, especially if you didn't get everything out of the appointment that you needed, are unable to follow orders, or have a bad reaction to medication.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
By the American Parkinson Disease Association, Massachusettes Chapter, October 19, 2022
It turns out that Parkinson’s disease (PD) is well-suited for telemedicine. In this 56-minute webinar movement disorder specialists with expertise in telemedicine discuss the pros and cons of using telemedicine, including bureaucratic obstacles (e.g. insurance coverage), how to find a movement disorder specialist who uses telemedicine, how to properly prepare for a telemedicine visit. In the last 25-minutes presenters answer listener questions.
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.
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.
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 December 2023 by Stanford Parkinson's Community Outreach