Research has shown that patients who have good relationships with their doctors tend to be more satisfied with their care—and have better results. Consider the following steps to make the most of your appointments with your health care provider to learn about your condition and health care needs:

Before appointments, make a list of things to talk about:

  1. Recent symptoms; Drug side effects; General health questions/concerns; Appetite; Sleep and Exercise, remember it’s to easy to forget something during the exam so notes will help you remember any questions you have.
  2. Keep a medical journal to include lab values, vital signs, height, weight, etc.
  3. Bring prescription drugs, over-the-counter drugs, and vitamins. It can be difficult to keep track sometimes of what medications are taken, this ensures that the nurse or doctor can see quickly what you are taking.
  4. Relay medication and food allergies. Doctor’s are highly skilled professionals, but they are humans, and it’s important to remind them of any medical or food allergies. 
  5. Bring copy of Power of Attorney for Healthcare and Advanced Directives
  6. Update "personal contacts" so they can get a hold of a family member or another doctor
  7. Rate pain/discomfort on 1-10 scale
  8. Don’t be afraid to ask a medical professional for clarification. It’s important to remember that they are humans too and sometimes they are in a hurry or tired, but that doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t expect answers to your questions. 
  9. Follow through. Whether the doctor prescribed a medication or told you to decrease your sodium intake it’s important to follow through with the advice you were given.
  10. Be nice. This isn’t always easy because you may be frustrated or in pain, but remember they have a difficult job and a little honey can go a long ways towards the medical professionals getting you the help you need as well as making their day a little better.

Just the Facts! Give information and get information. Always give facts about your condition and be sure you understand your health-care plan.

Editor’s Note: Article submitted by Dawn Waddell Elledge, RN, CCM-PGCM,Professional Geriatric Care Manager.