Top Ten Tips for Talking to your Doctor
There are many ways we can practice self-care, but did you know something as simple as preparing in advance for a medical appointment can have lasting effects on our long-term health? Below are ten ways we can do our homework to ensure the lines of communication between ourselves and our medical providers are kept open and clear.
10. Sometimes doctors may unintentionally make us feel rushed when we have an appointment. Write down all the questions that you have the day or two before your visit. That way you can have the list to refer to while you are face to face with the doctor. You don’t want to kick yourself on the ride home for forgetting to ask them something important.
9. Some of us experience some nervousness or apprehension when going to the doctor. If you are having anxiety surrounding a medical appointment, bring a trusted family member or friend with you to the appointment. Their presence alone may ease your mind.
8. Ask your doctor what they are prescribing and why they are prescribing it. It is important that you have a good understanding of your medications, as this can help you better understand your own health conditions.
7. Although it can be a little embarrassing, or maybe even scary, to admit that you are having confusion or forgetfulness around taking your medication, it is important to be honest with your doctor. They may have some suggestions, including getting your medications in monthly blister packages or utilizing an alarmed medication dispenser.
6. Don’t assume your doctor knows what medications you are taking. Bring a current list or bottles of both your prescribed/over the counter medications and dietary supplements.
5. Ask your doctor for a written printout of information on your specific medications. This can outline side effects, what to do if a dose is missed, and other details that you may want for future reference.
4. Confirm what time to take your medications. Ex: Does “four times a day” mean you have to take it in the middle of the night? And what exactly does “as needed” entail?
3. Let your doctor know if you have trouble taking pills. They may have some ideas or could prescribe a liquid medication you could take instead. Do not crush your pills unless given permission by your doctor.
2. Ask your doctor to arrange the medication be filled in easy open containers if you have difficulty with child-proof caps for easier access. Or if you have some vision impairments, ask if they can print prescription labels in the larger font.
1. Your health is important, and your feelings matter. Speak up if you have questions or if you do not understand something you are being told. And remember that it never hurts to get a second opinion if you are having doubts or if you did not feel comfortable with a certain medical provider.
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