Sunday, July 22, 2007

Patient + Doctor = Healthcare team

When you go visit your doctor, do you know ahead of time what questions to ask and what topics you want to be certain are discussed? Many of us go in to a doctor’s office thinking we know what we want to discuss but after we leave, we think “Shoot, I forgot to mention [insert the blank].”

Learning how to talk to healthcare professionals is an important aspect to taking control of your own health. Doctors, nurses, and other healthcare professionals know how to do their jobs, but they don’t know you. If you don’t talk to them about your concerns, your worries, your thoughts, they can’t help you and may think that everything is just fine.

In this day and age of medical care, it’s easy to feel as if you’re being rushed through an appointment and, quite honestly, sometimes you are. But as a healthcare consumer, you can also slow things down if you’re feeling rushed. In all fairness to the doctors, sometimes they don’t even realize they’re doing it because they have so many things on their plate.

When I worked in the hospital, I often had patients who were asking me questions just moments after the doctor had been in to visit. When I asked why they hadn’t discussed this with their doctor, they would often respond that they forgot when he or she was in the room. Whenever I did patient teaching in the hospital or discharge counseling, I always said to my patients, anything time they thought of something to ask the doctor, write it down. Keep a notebook in your purse, on your desk, at your bedside, and write down your worries and your concerns. And then most importantly, bring these notes with you and use them.

Learn as much as you can about your illness or injury. Ask the nurse what the different pills are as you are given them to take, ask the doctor why the pills are prescribed, as the physiotherapist why a certain exercise will help your therapy. You need to work together as a team and the only way that will happen is with good communication between you and the other team members.

News for today:
Coaching for Doctor Office Visits Helps Patients Ask Right Questions
23 Children Visit An Ontario ER Daily Due To Playground Injuries, Canada
Teens Harming Themselves At Rates Higher Than Previously Suspected
Advice, Devices Ineffective in Preventing Worker Back Pain
Exelon® Skin Patch Recommended For European Approval, The First Use Of This New Technology To Treat Patients With Alzheimer's Disease


Dawn said...

I'm off to the dentist this morning but I truly believe that I have only one question. How soon can you whip the little blighter out!

Crabby McSlacker said...

My problem is that I don't visit the doctor very often--when I do go in I have a million little questions and concerns accumulated over the years, and I feel like I take up way too much of their time. I should probably go in more often, but fortunately, I've been lucky in having patient practitioners who take the time to listen.

Great advice, though, for those who are not so lucky or so talkative!