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Wellness visits benefit seniors

Published: Apr. 19, 2021 at 8:49 PM EDT
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PRESQUE ISLE, Maine (WAGM) -

A service available to senior citizens is adding an extra level of health care, to help ensure their medical needs are being met. In this week’s Medical Monday, Kathy McCarty has more on the difference between an annual checkup and a Wellness visit.

If you’re a senior citizen, you may be eligible for a Medicare annual Wellness visit once a year, in addition to an annual checkup, says Registered Nurse Ruth Hanson.

“These visits are meant to be a once-a-year review of your medical history, what medications do you take, a good general overview of your health history and it’s a good once-a-year check-in,” says Ruth Hanson, RN, Manager of Clinical Operations at Northern Light A.R. Gould Hospital.

Part of the visit is looking at a patient’s chart and reviewing the issues they’ve seen their primary care provider for over the past year. The wellness checkup can be performed by someone other than your doctor.

Hanson says, “Part of this visit is other screenings, so like a colorectal cancer screening, the breast cancer screening. But we also look at items such as cholesterol, patients who may qualify for, like, smoking cessation, patients who aren’t diabetic but still should be screened for diabetes.”

In-home safety, including smoke detectors, is also discussed.

“It’s really not just about health histories, but it’s also about helping to gather community resources and seeing where patients are at and what they need,” she says.

There’s not always time in a regular checkup to discuss such a broad range of topics.

“As we all age, as we, you know, transition to different stages of our life, our needs change. And so this is a good opportunity to get a baseline of where are you at, what do you think you’re going to need for resources,” says Hanson.

Hanson says Wellness visits help set up what you’ll need for the next five to 10 years, be it safety measures at home or medical screenings. For more information or to schedule a Wellness visit, contact your primary care provider. Kathy McCarty, NewsSource 8

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