Before you head out the door to your doctor’s appointment, here’s a list of things you will want to bring with you:
- Your provincial health card or health insurance information. Also know what coverage you have and let your physician know (e.g. if you don’t have prescription drug coverage or extended benefits for physiotherapy).
- A medical card with medical information (especially any allergies to medication), past surgeries, next of kin, immunization, etc. Put your health insurance numbers on here, including any extended health insurance coverage. You may be able to find a template online. If not, create your own card.
- Test results—this is especially important if you are seeing a new doctor, or this is a follow-up visit after tests have been done. Keep track of when and where you had tests done in case the results are not in your patient chart.
- List of medications including drug names, doses and how long you’ve been taking it. Include herbal supplements and vitamins. “Doctors know that the majority of our patients use some type of alternative therapy. It is important for your doctor to know about all the different treatments you are doing, says physician, patient advocate, author, and speaker Dr. Leana Wen (http://www.drleanawen.com/). “Most doctors are not experts in alternative medicines, but it’s useful for them to know what you’re taking in case there are some interactions with your other medications or treatments.”
- Names and contact information of any specialists and complementary health care providers that you are seeing, why you are seeing them and when you saw them last. Some physicians are open to hearing about alternative treatments and may want more information.
- Journal—keep track of any symptoms (and what might trigger them, i.e. diet) and any changes you’ve experienced in your health
- Your list of questions—these will likely become obvious as you keep your journal. Jot the questions down as you think of them, and then make a list right before your appointment so you’re not flipping through the journal trying to find the questions.
- Notebook and pen—take notes during your visit (or immediately after) so you remember what you and the doctor discussed and his/her recommendations
- A family member or friend. It’s great to have the support and company, and they may remember things the doctor tells you that you might otherwise forget. Four ears are better than two.
- Snacks—and things to pass the time. Bringing a book, whether in hard copy or on a digital device will help if you have to wait, and hospital cafeterias may not be open or have anything suitable if you’re on a special diet, so bring your own food.
And the one more. If you take a medication or supplement on a p.r.n. basis (physician talk for ‘as needed’), track how often you’re taking it in your health journal.
Remember that your office appointment is booked for a specific amount of time. Don’t expect your physician or healthcare provider to be able to deal with all your items in one visit. Prioritize what’s really important for you and book another appointment(s) to address other issues as appropriate.
With these in hand, you will be better prepared for your doctor’s visit, and you will get much more from it.
Several articles were read for this article, including ones on this website:
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