Brain Injury - Tips For Communicating With Your Doctor
Persons with brain injuries often need more time and other tools in order to communicate effectively with their healthcare providers. Here are several tips to help get more out of the doctor-patient relationship:
Schedule Additional Time
Starting with the scheduling of your first appointment, advise your doctor's office that you would like some additional time with the doctor at your appointments. An additional 30 minutes might be appropriate, although you may require more time depending on your particular situation. You want to build in some additional time so that you have a comfortable and relaxing experience, which will allow you to convey everything necessary without the stress that can cause erosion of your cognitive abilities.
Make Special Waiting Arrangements If Bothered By Distractions
If distractions are particularly difficult for you because of your brain injury, make special arrangements for a quieter atmosphere for your comfort. An office or quieter waiting room may be less distracting. If this is not an option ask for someone to come get you from your automobile or the entrance to the building when your name is called to see the doctor.
Arrive Early For Your Appointment
It may help to arrive at least 15 minutes before your scheduled doctor's appointment. Organize your thoughts and the questions you need to ask your doctor. Also take this time to relax from your drive.
Write down everything you need to ask or tell your doctor. After each topic on your list is discussed and answered, check it off your list. Additionally, take notes on what the doctor is telling you. After you have completed all discussions recap with your doctor everything you have written down to make sure you fully understand what he has told you.
Write It Out
After your diagnosis, ask the doctor for an easy to read written explanation, to make sure you can understand. Request that he put in writing all possible treatments and goals, along with what his estimation of the cost and the time it will take for your procedures.
Only You Know How You Feel
If you don't think the diagnosis is accurate, or if you believe it minimize your problems, go with what you think, most likely your correct. Only you know how you truly feel and in some ways you are most qualified to understand your issues.
New Prescription Precautions
After you are prescribed new medications, ask your doctor about the possible side effects for the drug. Additionally, ask him to write them down. You need to be aware of everything about the medicines you are taking.
Make A Request To Receive Records On An Ongoing Basis
Ask your doctor to put a note in your file stating you would like to receive copies of all medical tests and reports as soon as the office receives them.
Never Sign Unlimited Medical Records Authorizations
A blank release form should never be signed. Make sure they are fully written out and limited to specific healthcare providers and that no additional names have been added to the form other than the ones you want the doctor to receive. Also, be sure to get a copy of every document that you have signed.
Ask As Many Questions As You Feel Necessary
Ask a lot of questions, and if you don't understand what the doctor is saying, ask some more. If he explains again and you still don't understand, ask again. Also, ask questions if the answer you get isn't the one you were seeking. You may also want to seek the advice of another professional if you are still not satisfied.
A brain injury is never easy, but you can improve your medical experience by implementing the tips and techniques listed here.
Have You Or A Loved One Suffered A Brain Or Spinal Cord Injury?
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