5 Steps to Effective Medical Care Visits
You Can Get Answers by Being Prepared
How many times have you gone to the doctor’s and not been satisfied with your visit? I know that I seem to have a ton of questions for the physician, but when I’ve arrived at the office they’re gone from my thinking.
With recent heath issues of my husband I’ve been much better at being prepared for each of his appointments. Here are a few tips that can help make your medical visits more useful and productive.
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Carry a Writing Tablet
1 - Write it Down
Those questions are important and so are you. Getting them answered can relieve stress, confusion and stop improper treatment.
Be sure to be prepared by writing down your questions the week before your visit. Or write them when they come to mind. Post them near a place where you won’t forget to take the list with you when your appointment date comes.
Ask the Doctor
How often have you forgotten to ask the doctor a question?
One of the first things I noticed when we began the extensive doctor visits to all the specialists is that some of the patients carried a notebook with all the things they acquired over their extensive health care.
After the first visit I realized why. Now I write things in a steno pad and just bring the tablet with us every time we go, this way it is always a habit.
If you are a heart patient, always remember to bring your medicines with you in a zip bag,
even if you think you may not need them.
Be sure to keep them away from heat or direct light.
I carry ours in a tote bag with a notebook and pen.
They're Ready to Listen
2 -Talk about Your Concerns
The doctor isn't a mind reader. Tell them what is on your mind, no matter how insignificant you think it is.
Don’t be afraid to bring up all your concerns during your time with the doctor or staff. They can’t read your mind and aren’t with you on a regular basis, so they don’t know what is effecting your health.
Make sure to ask about any foods or other medications that may interfere with your progress, like can you take vitamins with the medication you are currently taking? Some vitamins will affect the effectiveness of medicines and should be avoided.
Let the doctor know of any health changes you’ve been experiencing by listing your symptoms, when and how often you’re getting them. For example, be sure to specify any redness, nausea, dizziness, swelling, etc.
If needed, say that you don’t understand what the doctor is telling you about your condition. Ask the physician to define any medical terms in words that you can relate to in your diagnosis and treatment. You cannot do what you don’t understand. No question is dumb, so ask.
Healing the Whole You
3 - What Else Can I Do?
It's not always about taking your medications. You health is much more than a pill.
Find out if there are other things you can do to aid in your recovery besides taking any medicine. This is an area we were continually exploring after my husband’s heart attack.
My husband had to wait for paperwork to be done by several agencies before he could begin physical therapy at the heart clinic. This put his therapy way behind schedule so we had to look for an alternative place until he could be switched. Later when he needed other care for specialist appointments the attending heart doctor was on vacation and the nurse was out on sick leave. These things happen, so be prepared to make any changes if need be so that your progress is not hindered.
While waiting for an official medical form, the heart clinic nurse found another facility for us at the community senior center. It allows heart care patients to use their exercise equipment even if they aren’t senior citizens, as long as they have a letter from their doctor.
You are the only one who knows how you really feel. Find out what else you can do right away and add to it as you progress. It's not about being able to run a mile or ride across town on a bike. Everyone heals at a different pace and you may find that what works for others may not be the best method for your wellness.
There is usually a solution if everyone gets involved.
4 - Review the Visit
Before leaving your appointment, review all you discussed during the visit, making sure to tie up loose ends. You’d be surprised at what you’ve left out or already forgotten.
Write down new things in your notebook or journal before leaving the room. Keep this journal handy at home and while you are out to jot down questions that come to mind for your next appointment.
Next Time ...
5 - Take Care of Future Appointments Now
Be sure to take care of scheduling new appointments or follow-up dates when you are at the doctor’s. Many times this is forgotten and getting a specific date needed is hard to do later. You don’t want to be put on a waiting list, so take care of this right then if you can.
Have the attending staff or clerical personal give you a card with the date and time listed. Put it on the refrigerator or in your appointment book as soon as you get home.
On Your Way to Better Health Care
In taking these pro-active steps you will find that each of your doctor’s appointments will be more productive, because you went prepared. Your anxiety levels will drop knowing that you have already made provision for the day.
You’ll find that when you take into account these steps your doctor and medical personal will be able to serve you better, and you will come away having more understanding to your health needs.
The 5 Steps in Review
Write it Down
Talk About Your Concerns
What Else Can I Do?
Review the Visit
Make A New Appointment Now
Blessings for A Speedy Recovery!
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