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Making the most of appointment with your health professional - Carers UK Forum

Making the most of appointment with your health professional

Share your ideas about the practical side of caring.
I am a Carer for my disabled husband and I have recently been suffering with depression and while I have got through it without medication, I did attend a seven-week course where I live which was a "Self Management Course" for people living with depression.

On the course they gave us various tools to to manage our depression and one was "Organise your time with your health profession by using this list to get the most out of your appointment"

So often we go to the Drs and do not really get down to the real issue - we tend to either hedge round it or leave it until the very end when there is little or no time left. This is because Drs have their own agenda, and often our agendas and their agendas do not always co-incide, so you need to be clear in your mind about what is your main issue(s) and be a little assertive in ensuring you bring this issue up FIRST at the beginning of the appointment - don't just discuss the boil on your nose: tell your Dr what is the real problem.

The Course suggested taking a trusted person with you if you do not feel strong to communicate assertively. It also suggested making a 15 minute appointment with your Doctor to ensure you are not rushed.

So here are some tips for you to make the most of your Doctor's appointment:

1. WHAT TO DO BEFORE YOUR APPOINTMENT
- Decide what you want to get out of your appointment and use this list as a reminder
- Remember to cancel any appointment you can't make

2. WHAT TO DO DURING YOUR APPOINTMENT
- Tell your Doctor/health professional of any new symptoms or changes in current symptoms
- Give the list below to your health professional, and at the end of the appointment check you have covered what you wanted to and have an agreed action plan
- Ask questions such as "are there any other ways to treat this condition?" "How long might the treatment last?" "What can I do to help myself?"

YOUR LIST


Agenda Setting - what would you like to discuss today with your health professional?
1. ..................................................
2. ..................................................
3. ..................................................

Goal Setting - what is the most important thing you want to get out of your appointment today?

Worries - is there any future treatment that you would prefer to avoid?

Joint Agreed Action Plan
1. ...................................................
2. ...................................................
3. ...................................................

Follow up: ________________________________________________________________
This looks pretty useful - and can be adapted to be used for other professionals, I should think. Anyway, I've made it a sticky for now.
I have just been browsing the forum, and came upon your post, Lily. The suggestions you have listed are very helpful indeed, and in fact, they coincide broadly with the principles that apply to any negotiation meeting: many years ago, I used to be a Trade Union rep, and this was the kind of checklist I always used in meetings with management -- often considerably more hostile than a meeting with a doctor! We used also to set two potential levels of outcome, an ideal result, and a fall-back position that we would be willing to accept as a compromise. Although that may not be directly relevant in this context, we actually do something similar almost instinctively, e.g. ideal outcome, a complete cure for whatever illness is in question; compromise position, the most effective treatment.

I would emphasise particularly the value of taking a friend along to the appointment. This, too, is an old negotiating rule -- always at least two people! There are always blank spots in everybody's recollection of a meeting, and there is a good chance that a companion will remember the things you have forgotten, and vice versa. Although there may be some occasions in the 'health' context where one would prefer total privacy, in general, having another person on your side of the table is of considerable practical value, as well as providing moral support. I would also spell out something else that I think is implicit in your advice: don't be afraid to take notes of the meeting.

Tristesa
I usually take a list with me. Unfortunately, our doctor's receptionist won't do double appointments!
I usually take a list with me. Unfortunately, our doctor's receptionist won't do double appointments!
Oh! That is a problem. Our practice is completely accustomed to patients bringing a friend or family member (though they do ask people not to bring more than one, and to tell the receptionist when they book the appointment), probably because it is in a part of London that has a very wide ethnic mix, and this is so normal in many cultures that some patients would be seriously intimidated by having to see the doctor alone.

I always have to take my husband and stay there with him, of course, otherwise he wouldn't remember anything, but that's a different issue, like accompanying a child.
My late parents' doctor, in a completely different part of the country, was always fine about the two of them going along together when they were in their 80s.

Tristesa
What I meant is that I only see a doctor when absolutely necessary, so I might have more than one thing that I want to discuss - perhaps a skin problem and how poorly my mum is and how I'm feeling about it. But the receptionist will only book the standard appointment time. If you have two problems they want you to see the doctor for one and come back and see him for the other thing another time.
What I meant is that I only see a doctor when absolutely necessary, so I might have more than one thing that I want to discuss - perhaps a skin problem and how poorly my mum is and how I'm feeling about it. But the receptionist will only book the standard appointment time. If you have two problems they want you to see the doctor for one and come back and see him for the other thing another time.
I'm very lucky now with GP appointments, I can make then online so a few weeks ago I booked a 10 minute appointment for my mum, then the next one for me as I needed a repeat prescription for myself. It was amazing how much we got through in 20 minutes. Not everyone has this facility I know though. I was once told GP didn't like patients with lists but mine didn't seem to mind.
Hi
I always go with my husband to ensure we cover everything necessary. I always jot down the main points beforehand. I read somewhere that you should only aim to cover one condition or one matter per appointment as the doctor has about 10 minutes per patient. We are fortunate recently to have changed to a really bright, good doctor after years of putting up with an elderly out of touch one. This new one really listens to us and is very approachable.