In the market for a new doctor? These tips may help…

NJ elder care tips for finding a new doctor

If you’ve found yourself or your older loved one needing to find a new doctor—perhaps your regular doctor retired, you made a geographical move, or due to insurance plan changes—you may be wondering where to start in your search for a new physician. Knowing where to start can be overwhelming! At Visiting Angels NJ, we are especially eager to provide information to assist family caregivers.

These tips may help:

First, choose what type of doctor you need:

  • General practitioners–they treat people of all ages and with a broad range of medical issues
  • Family practitioners–much the same as the GP, but with extra training for families—young to old
  • Internists–doctors who only treat adults; many internists also specialize
  • Specialists–such as cardiologist, oncologist, neurologist, dermatologist, etc.
  • Geriatricians–these doctors have extra training in caring for older people, NJ elder care

Second, ask your friends, coworkers, or other medical professionals for personal recommendations:

  • Ask them what you like about their doctor
  • Ask how quickly the doctor typically sees them
  • Check online reviews
  • Also consider calling your local hospitals’ referral services:
    • Mercer County Hospitals:
      • Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital, Hamilton, NJ 609-584-5900
      • University Medical Center of Princeton at Plainsboro, NJ, 1-888-742-7496
    • Burlington County Hospitals:
      • Virtua Memorial, Marlton or Mt. Holly, NJ 1-888-847-8823
      • Lourdes Medical Center of Burlington County, Willingboro, NJ 1-888-LOURDES
      • Cooper University Health Care,  1-800-8-COOPER

Third, call the physician(s) from the list you’ve compiled:

  • Ask what type of insurance the physician’s office accepts
  • Ask where the office is and ask if there is easy-access and plenty of parking
  • Ask how long the doctor typically spends with each patient (choose one who will spend time with you)
  • Ask who you would see if your doctor is not available
  • Ask if the doctor is Board certified

Finally, once you’ve chosen a new doctor, be sure to transfer all your previous medical records to the new office, including x-rays. Prepare and also keep with you a list of all your medications and past medical issues, as well as your family’s medical history (give a list to a trusted family member or friend, as a backup). Always be open and communicate with your doctor. Ask questions, and don’t hesitate to bring a family member if you need support.