Going to the doctor’s office – whether to figure out a diagnosis, determine a treatment regimen, or for a routine check-up – can be rewarding or frustrating, depending on your experience. Here are few tips to help you make the most of your next doctor’s appointment:
Find a doctor you trust.
In some cases, this can be easier said than done, but it is one of the most important steps you can take for your health. Living with a chronic condition like multiple sclerosis often means more doctor’s visits and more time spent talking about your overall well-being. Finding a doctor and a healthcare team that you trust can help relieve some of the stress of determining a new course of treatment, addressing symptoms, and understanding what is happening in your body.
Have a list of your medications handy.
Even if your doctor is the one who prescribed the medication, having an updated list for your visit and for your medical records can streamline the conversation with your healthcare team. You can easily keep track in the notes on your mobile phone, a notepad, or by using a health app like the My MS Manager™ app.
Prepare a list of questions for your doctor.
If you have questions or concerns about any changes you are experiencing in your disease course, writing them down can help you remember to get answers. This can also help your healthcare team know what is most important to you in terms of your care and what issues you need to have addressed.
Bring a friend or care partner with you.
Having someone come with you to a doctor’s appointment can be beneficial beyond just having the support of a loved one. A care partner or friend might be able to offer additional insight into symptoms that you yourself may not have noticed. They can also take note of what the doctor says during the visit and help you process the information at a later time.
Communicating effectively with your healthcare team can go a long way in helping you understand your MS, and feel confident in your treatment plan. For additional reading and tips, check out the cover story from our Spring 2008 edition of The Motivator, “Partners in Wellness: The Importance of a Positive Doctor-Patient Relationship,” as well as our S.E.A.R.C.H.™ Toolkit.