Although it is common for people to dread going to the doctor, you may be perplexed as to what to do if someone you care about is in need of medical care but refuses treatment. You don’t want to roll over easily, but you also don’t want to force the person to leave. Convince your relative to see a doctor by discussing your concerns and better understanding their reluctance. Then, collaborate with them to find a solution that meets their needs while also emphasising the importance of visiting the doctor.
Method 1 Having the Conversation
1. Don’t wait until there’s a crisis to act. When their health is in jeopardy, the worst thing you can do is try to persuade them to see a doctor. If you do this, your decision may be hurried and may not be in your relative’s best interests. Instead, start the conversation as soon as possible.
For example, suppose a teenage relative becomes pregnant but does not trust the doctor to respect her privacy. She may be concerned that they will inform her partner or parents about the pregnancy. You should begin inquiring about her prenatal care plan as soon as possible so that the baby can receive proper care that the mother is comfortable with.
Similarly, try to schedule regular checkups for your ageing parents before a problem arises. You will understand their wishes and be able to take appropriate action in the event of a serious health scare this way.
2. Take your time when approaching the subject. Make sure you don’t back them into a corner. When you put your loved one in a corner, they may become even more resistant to help. Have a relaxed, no-pressure conversation. Choose a time when you are both relaxed and free of distractions. Bring up the topic casually.
For instance, you could ask, “Mom, when was the last time you saw a doctor?” Alternatively, “Jody had to leave early to take his father to the clinic.” It reminded me that you hadn’t been out in a while.”
3. Express your concerns clearly and lovingly. If your loved one isn’t open to a casual suggestion, you’ll have to confront the issue head-on. Be clear and direct in expressing your concerns, especially if their health is in jeopardy.
“Mom, I can tell your arthritis is getting worse,” you might say. You didn’t even get out of bed the day before. I care about you and am concerned. I’d feel so much better if you went to see a doctor.”
Remember that you may need to repeat this step several times before your loved one begins to seriously consider your suggestions.
4. Pose inquiries. If your loved one continues to be hesitant to see a doctor, you may want to question them further. Identifying the source of their hesitancy can assist you in developing a viable solution.
You could inquire, “Do you dislike your doctor?” “What do you dislike about going to the doctor?” or “Are you concerned about anything in particular?” You could also take a more direct approach by asking, “Why don’t you want to see the doctor?”
5. Discuss the ramifications of denial. People may avoid seeing a doctor in some cases because they are not yet ready to accept the realities of a situation. Perhaps a loved one in remission from cancer begins to lose weight or re-experiences symptoms. Perhaps an ageing parent is constantly forgetting things. These people may be hesitant to go to the doctor because the outcome is more than they can bear right now.
In such cases, you must make your loved one consider the consequences of not acting. For example, if they do not begin treatment right away, the cancer may reappear in full force. Alternatively, a parent suffering from memory loss may inadvertently injure themselves or become disoriented.
Method 2 Figuring Out a Solution
1. Locate an ally. Often, family members are more open to hearing from strangers than their own relatives. A trusted family member or community leader may be able to bring up the subject in a way that your relative finds acceptable. Determine who your loved one holds in high regard in their life. Then, ask this person to help you with your cause.
2. Allow them to select the doctor. Gender differences, cultural barriers, and even educational gaps can all influence a person’s decision to avoid seeing a doctor. If this is the case with a loved one, try to work with them to find a healthcare provider who shares their beliefs and makes them feel more at ease.
For example, your relative may prefer a traditional medicine practitioner to a Western-style physician. If your loved one is a woman, she may prefer to be seen by a woman doctor. If they dislike hospitals, they should look for a small, independent practise.
Make an appointment with the doctor so that your loved one can meet with them before being examined.
Work with them to conduct research and find a qualified provider who can meet your loved one’s needs while also relieving their distress.
3. Offer to get a checkup as well. Your relative may feel less distressed if you accompany them to the doctor’s appointment as a patient as well. This may relieve them of the burden of believing that they are the only ones with a problem. Make it casual and relaxed, as if you’re both just getting a yearly exam. With this approach, your loved one may be more inclined to visit the doctor.
You could say, “Dad, I was thinking we could schedule our checkups together this year.” Going with you will make me far less nervous than going on my own. “Does that sound reasonable to you?”
Making it appear as if they are going to support you rather than the other way around may also relieve some of the pressure.
4. Understand your limitations. Despite your best efforts, your loved one’s medical treatment is ultimately determined by them. You can’t force the issue unless they’re in danger of hurting themselves or someone else. Recognize that there is only so much you can do and be honest with yourself about it.
If your loved one refuses to see a doctor, you could try mailing a letter to their doctor outlining your concerns and hoping that they will call your relative in for an appointment.
Alternatively, you could privately tell a cardiologist about any memory problems you’ve noticed in the hope that they’ll pass the information along to the primary care physician.
Method 3 Making a Doctor Visit Bearable
1. Make use of positive language. The way you describe doctor’s appointments can sometimes make a huge difference in someone’s stress levels. Speaking in a worried tone and using negative language can cause your loved one to be anxious about the visit. Rather than conveying anxiety, try to convey the message that going to the doctor is beneficial to their health.
2. Instead of focusing on their flaws, emphasise their strengths. Going to the doctor is a chore when everyone brings up problems. Try to frame your explanations in a positive light by emphasising your strengths rather than your shortcomings.
Don’t say, “Mom, you got lost the other day, and I’m worried.” “Mom, we’d like to talk to the doctor about how we can help you stay healthy so you can continue to care for yourself.” He can make suggestions so that you can continue to live on your own.”
3. Schedule it for a convenient time of day. It may appear overly simple, but your loved one may have developed a negative perception of the doctor as a result of the time frame in which they typically see one. Inquire when your family member would like to schedule their appointment and do your best to accommodate their request.
Some older people, for example, perform better in the morning than in the afternoon. If the visit is scheduled during this time, they may be more enthusiastic about it.
Consider scheduling an e-visit or a Skype consultation if possible. Your loved one can communicate with the doctor via computer from the comfort of their own home.
4. Plan exciting activities for the following day. You can also change people’s perceptions of doctor visits by making the day more exciting. Going to the doctor may appear to be a chore, but you can make it more enjoyable and rewarding by scheduling pleasurable activities around it.
For example, you could suggest that you accompany your relative to the doctor and then go shopping and have a nice lunch at their favourite café.
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