Quote from OyWithThePoodles
Personally, for the most part, I would rather have my husband with me at my appointments. At times I have been asked questions that were hard for me to answer but easier for him (anxiety: has your anxiety gotten better or worse? Well, seeing as how he helps me through my panic attacks, he would have a better answer as to whether or not they've gotten better or not. Thyriod: I was sleeping 15 hours a day. She asked if I snore when I sleep, not a clue. He had the answer to that.) Just a couple examples where it helped having him there.
I like going with him because he's a man. And sometimes likes to pretend he is not as sick as he actually is
I go with my dad (perfectly capable of taking himself) to his appointments in regards to his diabetes because it can be overwhelming for him and by the end of the appointment he forgets what was discussed at the beginning.
For the most part having someone alone who is being abused is not going to get them to reveal it to you unless the evidence is so clear they have no other choice. Speaking from personal experience, they will be conditioned not to tell anyone and if you insist on treating them alone especially just for normal visits will trigger a bad response in the abuser. Remember they have to go home with that person.
Speaking as to how to deal with the abuser, treat them as you normally would perhaps try to get them to open up as to things that may be bothering them. Sometimes abuse does come from a bad, stressful situation at home others it is just there.
As a patient, if our primary care provider would not allow my spouse to be in the normal visits I believe I would be finding another doctor. There have been times when we have helped each other out....you know it isn't necessary for the anesthesiologist or doctor to know that you gasp for breath in your sleep, or that your blood pressure has been sky high and you have complained of chest pain...it isn't necessary for someone to be there to say doc get them off that medicine he/she has been crying, angry, sad, up all night and no you are not prescribing an anti-depressant you are stepping them down and we are moving on....it isn't necessary for someone to be there and so no you are not prescribing opiates what else can we try....
It is important to have the other half of the couple there especially folks who have been married for years. They see things and know things that the other may have just come to accept as par for the course and oh I'll be in the hospital anyway and they'll take care of me.
Just the same as separating a couple after a tragic accident or heart attack because you have to speak to the patient alone to rule out abusive situation at home is just cruel. All that does is add more aggravation and stress to a life threatening situation.
Who knows in the hospital situation one might forget to tell that I am allergic to a specific antibiotic and low and behold later after heart palpitations, blood pressure off the charts, and emergency care given that would have been avoided if the spouse had been there to say stop. Or in prescribing such a simple thing as a laxative that one reacts strongly too may result in a very sick patient and very unhappy nursing staff from the projectile vomiting and terrible cramping that is going to ensue.