When you take action against your disease, you become a partner in your own healthcare and an advocate for your health. This includes being proactive, informed and engaged when visiting your doctor.
The following are some tips that will allow you to expect more out of your doctor visits:
- Make sure you are well-prepared for your doctor visit. Bring all your records with you, including previous blood and imaging tests, and a list of questions you may want to ask your doctor.
- Don’t be afraid to ask. If you’re unsure why your doctor is giving you certain tests, a referral to other specialists or prescribing/not prescribing certain medications, ask why.
- Be honest about how you feel. Be sure to tell your doctor about any changes in your general health or if any of your symptoms have worsened since your last visit.
- Tell your doctor about any recent life changes or major stresses. These can impact your mental and physical health.
- Bring a notebook and record the doctor’s answers to all your questions so that you can be sure you have all the information. Ask your doctor if anything seems unclear.
- It can be helpful to restate complex information that you’ve heard your doctor tell you. Make sure you understand everything correctly, such as, “My understanding is ‘xyz’, is that correct?”
- Have a caregiver, friend or family member go with you to your appointment. It can help you feel more supported. It’s also good to have someone else hear the information first-hand to ensure that nothing is missed.
- Make sure you are clear on the next steps in your treatment plan and any recommendations your physician has before you leave.
By being better informed, better prepared and motivated to be your own best advocate, you may:
- Expect more understanding of your disease,
- Expect more knowledge of treatment options for the treatment of your disease or your symptoms,
- Expect more answers to your questions and ultimately
- Expect more confidence that you and your healthcare provider are making the best decisions for your care