Quad Cities, IL/IA

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Getting the Most Out of Your Doctors Visit


By Greta Nelson RN — Good Samaritan Society Services at Home

Have you ever found yourself leaving the doctor’s office or hospital with more questions or doubts than you had when you went in? Maybe you were in for a quick visit for yourself or a loved one, or maybe you had an extended stay for an acute or chronic illness. After all, most of us don’t speak “doctor” and we leave without all of the answers we are seeking. Let me tell you something; it is always “ok” to ask more questions and to ask for clarification if you don’t understand something. Here are some key tips on how to take control of your medical visits.

The first thing you should do is grab a pad of paper and a pen or pencil. If you are anticipating calling the doctor for a current illness, make sure you write down exactly what your symptoms are and what your concern is. While you are waiting until your appointment, continue to document your current status. It is a good idea to write down any questions you may want to ask the doctor or medical staff, helping to avoid those forgetful moments during your visit. Make sure you bring that notepad with you to your visit. You can continue to take notes on what you learn during your trip to the doctor.

Anytime you are prescribed a medicine you should ask these questions:
Can I take a generic form, or is this available over the counter? Can you review the instructions with me? Can I safely take this with my other current medications?

If you don’t feel like all of your questions were answered or you didn’t understand the doctors’ responses don’t hesitate to ask for clarification. It is also a good idea to bring someone you are comfortable with to the appointment, this way you have a second set of ears. Researching a current illness or diagnosis is a good idea, but use caution when using the internet. Googling your symptoms is not a wise choice — choose a trusted medical source. In most cases you can always call the medical team after your visit if you are still seeking further clarification.

Good Samaritan Society — Services@Home provides care such as housekeeping, medication reminders, preparing meals, grocery shopping, and assisting with other cares, to remain independent at home. To learn more about Good Samaritan Society — Services@Home, please call 844-359-4446 or visit our website at www.good-sam.com/quadcityhome.

Source: Top 5 Questions to ask your doctor, by Jim Sutton, RPA-C & Sagar Nigwekar, MD

Here is a list of some questions to ask at the office:

  • How will I know that my treatment is working?
  • How will the medication or treatment you are prescribing treat my condition?
  • Is there more than one condition that could be causing my problem?
  • What exactly is my condition and what caused it?
  • What symptoms should I look for that mean I should contact you or seek immediate help?
  • Are there treatment choices that don’t involve medications?
  • How long will it take to feel better?
  • If my symptoms get worse, what can I do on my own before I see you?
  • Is my medical condition permanent or temporary?