What do you do when your parent refuses to do the test the doctor has ordered?

1 answer | Last updated: Sep 20, 2016
Gagnier asked...

What do you doing when your parent refuses to do the test the Doctor has ordered for them

Expert Answers

Jennifer Serafin, N.P. is a registered nurse and geriatric nurse practitioner at the Jewish Homes for the Aged in San Francisco.

If my parent refused to do a test that the doctor had ordered, I would sit down with them and talk with them about it. Perhaps your loved one has a good reason for not doing it, and you just need to hear the reason why.

Here are some of the common reasons someone may refuse a test: 1) Fear of the test itself: Many tests are scary for people, as there is often little or no information given about the steps involved. 2) Loss of control: You can not be the 'calling the shots' if you have no idea what is going on. Many tests involve the use of drugs that can cause dizziness and confusion, and some people do not want to be incapacitated. 3) Fear of the diagnosis: Some people may not want to know the result, as facing a diagnosis can be hard, especially if it is cancer. 4) Difficult prep: Many times, the preparation for the test can be difficult, like for a colonoscopy. It is also hard for some people to keep from eating or drinking after midnight before some procedures. 5) They simply do not understand the test's importance: The doctor may feel this test is necessary, but he/she may not have communicated that reason to your parent.

Now, if your parent has given you no good reason that they refused the test, many times if you let them know why you think it is important, they may do it anyway. Let them know you can help them with transportation, preparation, or even letting them come and stay with you while they recover from the procedure. If your parent has dementia, it may take more support and patience to get them to agree to a test, as many people with dementia will refuse anything they do not understand.
Hope that helps!