Tips for Talking With Your Health Care Provider

You and your health care providers are working toward the same goal: your health. Health care providers can advice you and help treat health problems, and your good healthy also spends on you.

Talking with Your Health Care Provider

First, take advantage of clinic and hospital visits to get all the information you need to care for yourself.

Second, become a partner in decisions that affect your health care.

To form this partnership, you and your healthy care provider will need to talk with each other and plan your care together.

  • Prepare for your appointment in advance. You may want to jot down what you want to tell your health care provider as well as any questions you may have. You may want to bring someone with you.
  • Try to be as clear and direct as possible when describing your symptoms. Here are some things you can be prepared to discuss: how long you’ve had the problem, what you have done about it, if it has changed, and what makes it better or worse.
  • If you have been treating yourself or if you have changed your prescribed treatment, tell your health care provider. The head care provider cannot make an accurate decision regarding your care unless he or she knows how you have been treating your problem.
  • Ask specific questions about your condition. Ask your health professional to tell you what your diagnosis is; what caused it, what you should do about it and when it will improve. Find out if you need to make a follow-up visit.
  • Make sure you really understand your health care provider’s recommendation. Repeat what you have heard to make sure you understand what was said. Also, make sure the instructions are realistic for you to follow. If they aren’t, don’t hesitate to say so. Changes or other suggestions can be made if you let your health care provider know.
  • Ask for more information if you need it. If you do not understand something (medical terms, for example), ask for an explanation or definition. Take notes or ask for written instructions if it would be helpful for you. Find out who to call if you have questions after you return home.

(Reference: University of Wisconsin Hospitals and Clinics Authority.

Image courtesy of iStockPhoto.

After her husband received a double-lung (bilateral) transplant in 2004, Shannon founded the Angel Cove Organ Donation Awareness Shop, which provides awareness t-shirts and gifts products for transplant recipients, living organ donors and donor families - giving 100% of the profits to help heart and lung transplant recipients with medical costs. Shannon lives in Milwaukee, Wisconsin with her wonderful husband and two chocolate Labrador Retrievers.

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