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Building Independence / Families/Carers / Health and wellbeing / Social Inclusion

Helpful tips when visiting the Doctor

By Jennifer Lumsden, February 5 2020

We all want to be healthy; to live life to the fullest. Taking care of our health includes every day habits like eating well, exercise, sleep and social connection. Sometimes we need to see a doctor to get our health back on track as quickly as possible. Here are some tips to get the most out of your next doctor’s visit.

Tip 1: Be Prepared

Doctors are busy and with standard consultations at 10-15 minutes, being prepared will make sure you get the best out of that time. Be clear about why you need to see the doctor.

What are the symptoms? Think about-
• Pain – Where does it hurt?
• Quality – What does it feel like?
• Radiation – Does it move anywhere?
• Scale – How bad is it. How much does it affect you?
• Timing – When did it start? Does it come and go? Is it sudden in onset? What makes it better or worse?

Make a list, rehearse telling the doctor about the symptoms, and remember to add other information such as existing medical conditions, medications and relevant family history.

Tip 2: Stay calm by slowing down your breathing; calmness helps to communicate clearly.

Tip 3: Take a friend or family member along to support you to communicate and listen to the doctor. You may be fearful, or nervous, perhaps overwhelmed with information or just too unwell to focus on what the doctor is saying.

Tip 4: Be punctual and patient and prepared to wait because emergencies can happen.

Tip 5: Book a longer appointment if you think you need more than a standard consultation.

It’s tempting to seek information from Dr Google, and while there is useful information on the internet there are also many untruths. So avoid putting your trust in the internet.

When visiting other health professionals like speech therapists, psychologists, podiatrists, occupational therapists or physios, use these same tips to make ensure your appointments are as effective as possible.

There is often a feeling of relief after having a health issue checked out. It’s important we put our health first so as we can live, work and play well.

Give it a go and get the best out of your health professionals to get your health back on track.


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