On average, doctors only spend a few minutes with each patient they see. We want to show you how to get the most out of those few minutes. The last thing you want is to leave the doctor’s office with an unanswered question or wishing you had remembered to mention something. Here are some tips for how to get the most from your next doctor visit.
- Schedule appointments to best suit your needs – Find a time where you won’t be rushing to get into the doctor. Being late will cut valuable minutes out of your visit time, not to mention that every time someone is late, the wait times are extended for everyone else. If you can, show up a few minutes early so you can take care of your co-pays or fill out any necessary paperwork beforehand.
- Write down a list of things that you’d like to tell the doctor – Address any existing problems you’ve had along with any new health issues that you’d like to address. Also, keep a list of your medications and any questions that you may have about them. A-Plus Home Care and Hospice has developed a tool to make writing all of this down quick and easy. Keep the tool on your fridge and make notes whenever a question or concern arises. Then simply take the tool with you to your next doctor visit. Click here (Right Click, Save as…) to download the tool for free. If you would like a hard laminated copy with magnets to attach the tool to your fridge, you can request one via our contact form here.
Tip: Putting a date next to any new health issues that arise is a good idea because it will help the doctor know how long your problem has been going on.
- Decide which concerns are most important – If you have a long list of things you’d like to address, it’s a good idea to put the most important things at the top of your list. That way, if the doctor runs out of time or you forget something, the most important things will likely be taken care of.
- Bring a friend or family member along– Having a caregiver or family member present at the appointment with you is a good move for a few different reasons:
- The companion can take notes on important details during the visit
- A companion can be an advocate for you and help ask important questions that you may not feel comfortable asking on your own.
- A companion can help with comfort should a new disease process be discovered.
- Feel free to say “I don’t understand”- Physicians have been through extensive training, and concepts that may seem routine to them are foreign to most of us. If you don’t speak up and let the doctor know that you don’t follow what he or she is saying, they’ll likely assume that everything is understood.
- Use other resources at the doctor’s office – There are many competent health care workers aside from physicians in almost all medical clinics. Be sure to take advantage of speaking with nurses or other assistants for more clarification on your care or for help with other issues. They are a team and have your best interest in mind.
Putting these six simple tips into practice will make sure you get the most out of your next trip to the doctor.