So you have a doctor appointment coming up. How can you prepare for a better appointment?
How to prepare for the appointment:
- Start making a list of your questions, concerns and or symptoms. Remember your doctor and his staff is part of your team to keep you healthy. You must be honest with them and so you don’t forget what you want to discuss, write down everything you want to discuss with your doctor.
- Bring a list of all your medications and supplements, the amount and how often you take them. Also bring the names and phone numbers of the other doctors you see along with any medical records you may have that the doctor needs to see.
- Consider bringing a family member or friend who can take notes for you so that you can remember everything the doctor discussed with you.
- Make sure you can see and hear appropriately at the appointment. In other words, if you have glasses, bring them. If you wear hearing aides make sure they are in your ears.
- Update your doctor on what has been happening in your life, such as any changes in your appetite, weight, sleep or energy level or if you have been feeling down, tired, confused, forgetful etc. The more information you give to your doctor about yourself the better he/she can treat you.
Things you should know in general:
- Make sure you understand your medical condition and what may have caused it. If it’s permanent, how will it affect your life and how to treat it?
- Medications – Understand why you are taking them and how they will help you. What side effects should you watch for?
- Understand how to take those medications. Morning, afternoon or evening? With or without food? Will this medication interfere with other drugs or foods?
Remember this is your appointment so you need to be an active participant.
- If you don’t understand something, ask the doctor to repeat what he/she said
- If you have a smart phone, ask the doctor if you could record the explanation.
- Ask for brochures or the best place to get additional information.
- Sometimes someone else that is part of the healthcare team can take more time to explain things to you.
- If you get home and are uncertain about anything that was discussed, do not hesitate to contact the office and talk to one of the healthcare team members.
I hope this sheds some light on to why it’s so important to be prepared for your next doctors appointment.
Stuart Thilmany is the owner of Keep the Beat Wellness, a health and wellness studio specializing in personal and small group training for baby boomers, seniors and individuals with various medical conditions where exercise programs are tailored to the individual’s needs.