Have you ever gone to the doctor’s with a load of questions, spent ages in the waiting room, only to be rushed through the appointment – with hardly any time to talk or be examined – and then leave the doctor’s practice with many of your questions unanswered? Making a note of the most important questions before going to the doctor’s can help you to get the answers you need.
Many people forget to ask their doctor questions that are important to them. Some are afraid of using up too much of the doctor’s noticeably precious time, or interrupting him or her to ask questions. They may also get the impression during the consultation that their questions aren’t important enough, or they may be embarrassed to admit that they didn’t understand something. Being well prepared can help to make sure this doesn’t happen, by
- knowing which information you need,
- not losing confidence during the appointment,
- not forgetting the questions you wanted to ask,
- remembering what you talked about and any important information afterwards,
- talking with your friends and family – and perhaps other doctors – about important aspects of your medical condition and treatment decisions after the appointment,
- coping better with the medical condition.
What questions do you have? Which of them are most important to you? You will find some examples in the list below. Not all of them will apply to you and your situation, but don’t let that bother you – some questions may only be relevant for other, very different, medical conditions. There’s no need to “work your way down” the whole list, of course. On the contrary: Selecting a few questions and then narrowing down the selection will help you find out what’s important to you, and what isn’t.
You can choose up to six questions to ask your doctor, and print them out to take along to the appointment. Make sure that he or she actually answers the questions during the appointment.
At the end of the appointment you can ask yourself the following:
- Do I understand what medical condition I have, and how it will affect me?
- Do I know exactly what needs to be done and what I can do myself?
- Am I aware of the pros and cons of the recommended diagnostic procedures or treatments?
If you still aren’t sure about something, ask again or make another appointment.