Being a Health Care Advocate: Checklists

Doctor office visit checklist

Before the visit

  • Gather your questions
  • Identify symptoms
  • Check your loved one’s file
  • Call to confirm appointment
  • Complete a copy of the Healthwise Self-Care Checklist and take it with you.
  • Take a list of any medicines the patient is currently taking.
  • If the patient has seen a doctor before for a similar problem, take the record from the visit with you.

During the visit

  • Help the patient describe symptoms accurately
  • Ask questions
  • Record the doctor's instructions
  • Discuss recommendations
  • Verify follow-up
  • State the main problem first.
  • Describe the symptoms (use the Healthwise Self-Care Checklist).
  • Describe the patient's past experiences with the same problem.

After the visit

  • Review your notes
  • Check prescription
  • Discuss the visit
  • Update your calendar
  • Call for test results
  • What's wrong?
  • What might happen next?
  • Ask what you can do at home.

At the end of the visit, ask:

  • Does the patient need to return for another visit?
  • Can I phone in for test results?
  • What danger signs should we look for?
  • When does the patient need to report back about the condition?
  • What else do we need to know?

Being prepared

  • Post emergency information in a prominent place
  • Have updated information on your loved one ready to go
  • Enlist a friend to be your ER buddy before a crisis occurs
  • Pack a bag ahead of time

Travel Checklist

Early planning and careful preparation are the keys to an enjoyable trip. As a caregiver, you can share the following tips with the patient to help him or her plan and prepare for any trip. Patients should contact their physician to make sure their proposed trip is medically safe and to obtain additional copies of their prescriptions to take with them.


  • Remind passengers not to smoke in the car.
  • Securely fasten the tanks.
  • Keep a window partially open.
  • Do not store oxygen in the trunk of the car.
  • Do not store oxygen in an area where the temperature will reach 120 degrees Fahrenheit.
  • In a recreational vehicle, do not store oxygen near an open flame.


  • Contact the reservation office for specific information about the use of oxygen and special accommodations.
  • Most companies require at least two weeks' notice if you are going to be using oxygen on your trip.


  • Most companies require at least four weeks' notice if you are going to be using oxygen on your trip.
  • Ask your physician what flow rate to use during your flight.
  • Request or book a direct flight, if available.
  • Most airlines require you to use their oxygen supply on the plane.
  • If there are layovers, ask if the airline will supply oxygen during that time.
  • Ask what the airline will charge for oxygen during the flight.
  • Arrange for your oxygen supply at your final destination.