Learn how to communicate effectively with doctors. A simple statement but a seemingly insurmountable task when caring for a loved one. For those that master this skill the doctor’s office visit can quickly turn from a whirlwind of information and anxiety to a safe place with an ally in the overwhelming maze that is your loved ones illness.
Here are a few helpful suggestions to make your loved one’s physician an ally:
1. Effective communication begins with preparation. Start a log of questions or concerns you have. Write them down as you think of them or as something happens. If you wait until the night before an appointment chances are you will forget something.
2. Be informed. Create a list of the medications your loved one is taking, along with the amounts and times they are taken. If there are side effects know what they are and if your loved one is experiencing any of them tell the doctor. Click here for a printable medication form.
3. Be confident. You are an expert on your loved one. If you think something is not right make sure you let the doctor know.
4. Repeat yourself. If you told the nurse or the receptionist about a concern it is ok to tell the doctor. Do not expect that all information is passed on before the doctor enters the room.
5. The ONLY stupid question is the one that is not asked.
6. Remember that the doctor’s time is limited. It is good to be polite but if you spend 5 minutes talking about the weather or your grandchildren that is 5 minutes not spent on your loved one’s condition or your concerns.