Bright Ideas - 10 strategies to help you get the most out of your healthcare appointments

Woman at doctor's appointmentManagement of your MS is a team effort with you in charge. Here are some simple strategies to help you stay in control and get involved in your healthcare plan.

  1. Book a long appointment: ensure you have adequate time to discuss your concerns but make sure to ask and understand the costs first.
  2. Be prepared: write a checklist of questions, medications and any prior tests. Describe how you feel, your symptoms, include any changes and when they occurred.
  3. It’s ok to speak up: many people feel emotional and struggle to be assertive or clear about a health concern. Be open, voice your feelings and explain the impact on your daily life
  4. Stay calm and breathe: take your time and refer to your notes and questions. Speak calmly and clearly. Explain how you’re feeling and discuss what’s best for you.
  5. Clarify your expectations: what would you like from the consultation? Write it down in advance. Being certain will help get the outcome you want from the appointment.
  6. If you don’t understand something, ask your GP to repeat or rephrase it: at the end of the appointment ask for a run through of key points again.
  7. Expect your GP... to examine your neurological system and discuss any findings and how they relate to any other health conditions you might have.
  8. Ask your GP... what sort of investigations or specialist referrals could assist in addressing your concerns and the likely cost.
  9. Understand the next steps: ask how the process works and what you need to do for each matter raised. Get info to read at home about being a patient, tests, results and/or diagnosis.
  10. Seek clarification and/or a second opinion: if you don’t feel your concerns have been addressed, it’s ok to re-state questions. You may wish to seek a second opinion.
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