Posted by: Patricia Hysong | May 22, 2016

Shorts-Healthcare Visits

Going to the doctor or other health care professional can be a chore, whether you have chronic health problems or go once a year.  You wait in the waiting room, you wait in the exam room, visit with the nurse for a minute and then you wait some more. The doctor\hcp comes in and it seems as though you’re halfway though your questions and they are halfway out the door. Average visits last about 20 minutes, hardly enough time to discuss minimal health care concerns let a lone important ones. With such brief encounters, it is important to have a comfortable relationship with your doctor and to plan ahead so you are prepared and feel like the time spent there isn’t a waste.

Tips for productive, understandable and quality time with your doctor or health care professional:

  • Do a little research prior to your visit. Try to have knowledge or ideas regarding any specific condition you have and other medical conditions or concerns that you have.
  • Share how you are feeling. Let the doctor know what is going on in your life and with your body so they can help you.
  • Write down questions and prioritize talking points. You are less likely to forget questions and get answers or other information you need if you have a list that you can follow.
  • Practice asking your questions. It helps build confidence so you can speak up during the visit.
  • Have someone accompany you. Having someone there that knows your health concerns gives you two sets of ears to listen more carefully and ask they can questions that you may not think about.
  • Listen carefully to responses, write them down or bring a tape recorder. Once you are home, you can refer to these notes to better understand instructions and information that you were given.
  • Know your meds and share that information with the doctor. Either bring a list or all the medicines and supplements you are taking with you so that the doctor knows what you are taking, how long you’ve been taking it and why.
  • Make sure the doctor knows you and your medical history. Share your personal medical history and summarize your family’s medical history so they know if there are diseases that tend to run in families that should be looked at. Include your lifestyle when discussing YOU with the doctor: exercise, diet, smoking, drinking, stress levels and general well-being.
  • Confirm follow-up visits or test that may be ordered and find out how to contact the doctor when you get home and have more questions. Knowing their communication preferences will save you time and frustration if you do need to contact them to clarify something after you’ve left the office.
  • Know how you feel about your doctor. How do you feel about them and how they treated you? Do you feel respected and valued as a patient? Make a good faith effort to discuss these feeling with your doctor if you do not. If nothing changes, find a new health care professional. You are not obligated to stay where you don’t feel comfortable so look for somewhere that you do. It may help you get well faster, reduce stress levels, follow advice more closely, and take better care of yourself in general.

This information is provided courtesy of the Wyoming AgrAbility Project. For more information, visit our website.

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