Before your appointment

Looking at your calendar, you see that you have a doctor's appointment next week. What can you do to prepare?

Write it down: Prepare a list of questions and concerns that you want to discuss. Your list should include any changes in symptoms you've noticed since your last visit, and any changes in your life that might cause you stress or affect your condition. Write down all medications and herbal products you are taking and have them ready to bring with you.

Do your homework: Bring any articles you've found in newspapers, magazines or on the Internet you'd like to discuss. If you were admitted to a hospital for any reason since your last visit, bring the hospital discharge sheet with you.

Prioritize: The average doctor-patient visit is about seven minutes, so chances are you won't have time to discuss all your concerns. Prioritize your list of questions and concerns so that you talk about the most important items first.

Break the ice: If you have had problems talking to your doctor in the past, there are often ways to improve the situation. Try working out your concerns before your appointment and arrive prepared with some opening statements that help you clearly state your concerns. Here are some examples to consider:

"I need to be able to talk to you about ------, but I feel like I can't. Can we talk about this?"
"I know you're busy, but I really feel like I need to discuss ------ in more length. Can we set up a time to do this?"
"I'm concerned that we're not communicating well, and this is why…."

All material copyright MediResource Inc. 1996 – 2021. Terms and conditions of use. The contents herein are for informational purposes only. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Source: www.medbroadcast.com/healthfeature/gethealthfeature/MS-Doctor-Visits

During your appointment

Bring support: Ask a family member, friend or spouse to come with you. You might need the moral support, and two sets of ears are better than one. Your friend or spouse can help you remember your doctor's advice. And you might need someone to drive you to and from your appointment.

Bring any medications, vitamins and herbal products you are taking. Discuss any side effects you might be experiencing. Your doctor can help you find an alternative medication if necessary.

Ask lots of questions and ask the most important questions first! If you don't understand your doctor's answers, ask for explanations in terms you can relate to. Try repeating what your doctor says, in your own words. If you still don't understand, ask where you can go for more information.

Be honest: Your doctor will appreciate you sharing information such as side effects from medications, and any lifestyle changes that may affect your condition. Be honest with your doctor if you haven't been taking your medications as prescribed. Try to clearly describe any changes in body functions, such as sleep and bowel habits, that you experience. And don't be afraid or embarrassed to ask questions or give honest answers – there's no "dumb" questions!

Stay on topic: It's nice to chat about the weather or the home team's latest win, but stick to the point: leave the small talk for later.

Take notes: It's hard to remember everything your doctor says, so bring your notepad and jot down important information that you can review later.

Ask for written or recorded information: Have your doctor to write down their instructions to you, and ask for any printed information they might have about your condition.

Be friendly: Remember that doctors are people too, and they will respond pleasantly to pleasant people.

All material copyright MediResource Inc. 1996 – 2021. Terms and conditions of use. The contents herein are for informational purposes only. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Source: www.medbroadcast.com/healthfeature/gethealthfeature/MS-Doctor-Visits

Question check-list

If you have MS, or if you or a loved one have been recently diagnosed, you can help manage your condition by asking smart questions.

About my medications
Why have I been prescribed this medication? What does it do, and can I expect any side effects?
How many times each day should I take this medication? At what time? And should I take food or drink with it?
Are there any foods and other medications I should not combine with this medication? Will this medication interact with any vitamins and/or herbal products? Can I drink alcohol while taking this medication?
Is it safe to drive while I’m taking this medication?
What should I do if I forget to take my medication?

About my tests
What kind of tests will I have?
What do you expect to find out from these tests?
When will I know the results?
Should I do anything special to prepare for tests?
Will these tests have risks or side effects?
Will I need more tests later?

Remember that understanding your doctor's answers is the key to good communication.

All material copyright MediResource Inc. 1996 – 2021. Terms and conditions of use. The contents herein are for informational purposes only. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Source: www.medbroadcast.com/healthfeature/gethealthfeature/MS-Doctor-Visits

When you go home

Homework:

  • Review the notes you took during your appointment.
  • If your doctor prescribed a new medication, talk to your pharmacist. You might have to take the new medication with food, or at different times.
  • Take your medications as prescribed by your doctor and pharmacist, and call your doctor immediately if you experience side effects.

All material copyright MediResource Inc. 1996 – 2021. Terms and conditions of use. The contents herein are for informational purposes only. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Source: www.medbroadcast.com/healthfeature/gethealthfeature/MS-Doctor-Visits