Dr. Rob posted some instructions on how to be a good patient.
While not every point is applicable, many of them are especially important for the elderly who are often concerned about “bothering” the doctor. “Do not apologize for your symptoms” is a good thing to remember, and I’d add “or minimize”.
My mother was bad about that when she became ill.
She would be barely breathing (she had lung cancer) at times, and we’d go to the doctor or the ER and she’d tell them, “Oh, my breathing’s not as good today” and they wouldn’t react with any urgency.
When I finally figured out that when she described her breathing as “not as good today” that meant she was about to stop breathing, I could break out my “Difficult Family Member Who’s a Nurse” routine and they’d step up treatment mostly to shut me up.
There are lists like this published from time, and inevitably someone will say, “What about the doctor?!” If you read this list, it’s evident that the author doesn’t mean that the doctor is free of responsibility, it just means that he wants the patient to get the best service possible.
The patient, and, by extension, the family (where applicable) has a responsibility to participate in the relationship with the doctor by providing accurate and timely information in order to facilitate the best outcome.