Meeting with Your Health Care Provider - How to Prepare
After finding a health care provider that you feel comfortable with often the next thing many people wonder is, "What do I need to do to prepare for my visit?" It is respectful and courteous for us to be aware that physicians and other health care providers are limited with the amount of time to spend with us and we do need to be as prepared as possible so we can have all our concerns and questions addressed.
Here are some tips of things to prepare ahead of time to make the best use of everyones time:
- If possible, make your appointment first thing in the morning or right after lunch to hopefully eliminate waiting. (Hopefully!)
- Write a list of all your concerns. I usually start mine a week or two before the appointment. I just keep an on going list (I use the AnyList app on my phone) and if something pops in my mind, I write it down. You many think you will remember all you want to ask, but just so you don't forget anything, just write it down. What you are feeling, type of pain, location, specific times, things that make it worse, better, other issues that are problematic, like sleeping, eating, going to the bathroom, etc. How does the pain affect your activities you do everyday? (What can't you do because of of it?)
- Bring all your medications with you the first visit, including all the over the counter medications, vitamins and herbal medicines
- I have a "medical history" typed up to bring to my appointments. I started going to so many specialists that I seriously got tired of repeating everything. Many have actually used it for a quick review of my history and usually ask for a copy. (Although they should look at your medical record). I carry a copy in my purse in case of emergencies.
- My name, address and telephone number at the top.
- Physician information with name, speciality, contact information, referring physician
- Diagnoses - date given
- Medications - name of the medication, dosage, when and how often you take it, date started it, what taking it for, doctor who prescribed it.
- Allergies - name of medication, specific allergic reaction (rash, hives, etc.), if went to ER.
- Hypersensitivities/side effects to medications - name of medication, specific issue (rapid heart rate, dizzy, nauseous, diarrhea, shaky, etc.) Remember many people have hypersensitivities to medications! YOU ARE NOT THE ONLY ONE! I've heard too many times, " Nobody else does..." NOT TRUE!
- List medications and procedures you have tried for your pain, if worked or not and why. That way they can easily see what has been trialled.
- Surgeries- name of surgery, physician performed, location, date (include epidermal injections, and other procedures received, location)
- Tests -X-rays, ct scans, MRI's, EMG's, CT Mylograms, etc. where you had it, (Bring the results if you have them).Food place to state if claustrophobic with MRI's. They can sedate you, just tell them!
- Insurance information
- Emergency contacts, names and numbers
- Date the information when last updated and update after appointments.
- McGill scale would be a good thing to fill out. It helps you to understand the different types of pains, etc.they may have one or you can use the one I'll proved after this posting. (When I find the one I like!)
- Bring a notepad and a pen to take notes. Take your time and ask them to repeat the information if you need them to.
- Hopefully this will give you enough to get all the info you need and they need to receive.
- Don't forget, if it didn't go as planned, please don't just go home and give up, get another opinion! YOU ARE WORTH IT!