Guest Post: Getting the most out of your hospital visits
Zec is one of our community champions, he helps keep the community safe, friendly and running well. He also runs the blog Sat On My Butt talking about beards, lifestyle and being a disabled person. Today he is talking to us about getting the most out of your hospital visits.
We have all had
that feeling of disappointment when we leave the hospital because we didn’t ask
a question or tell the consultant something, I have been there many times and
despite saying it wouldn’t happen again, it did.
An appointment to see a specialist is valuable, we don’t often get to see the consultant and when we do get into the consultation room we often then find out it’s a doctor we haven’t seen before. Of course that question then arises “so tell me what’s been going on” and many of us don’t have straight forward or short medical histories, but we hope that the fresh eyes on the notes will produce a cure or better result. We sometimes only get an appointment at an outpatient clinic a few times a year and by then the junior doctors have rotated to a different department and so continuity of care suffers.
However it is important that we get our questions answered, the doctor may not think so but for us it’s on the top of our list of priorities and it’s your right to be heard, consultants are powerful people, many can be intimidating and they are used to getting their own way, they are on a time limit in clinic and have most probably already done their ward rounds and have surgery still planned for later that day. So they need to review our case and tell us what the next step is and they want this to be quick so clinic doesn’t over run, so how do we get heard?
A few tips:
- Make a list of questions that you want to ask
- Make a list of any new symptoms
- Don’t be afraid to stop the consultant if you don’t understand
- If you’re not 100% happy with the treatment or surgery being offered, say so because it’s your body
- Take someone with you who understands your health problems
- I have even marked in pen areas where the pain is worse, sounds silly but I sometimes forget all the places
- If you’re not happy with your consultant, say so. They won’t be offended and will refer you to a colleague
- Be polite always and never raise your voice.
- Don’t be afraid to say you did a Google search and it has raised some questions or possible treatments
Once I even wrote a letter to my consultant because I felt that I wasn’t being heard, this can be emailed and the email address can be obtained by phoning the hospital and asking to be put through to their secretary. I also took a copy of the letter along to my next appointment for reference. I’m sure the waiting room was full of sighs as my appointment over ran because I ended up spending an hour with the orthopaedic consultant that day. I don’t recommend routinely taking up their time like that, but this was a discussion about whether amputation was worth considering.
So remember, it’s your health, it’s your appointment, make sure you are heard and make sure you are happy with what is said, however always remember that the man or woman in front of you has spent many years of hard work to get where they are and they know (rarely they don’t) what they are doing.
What do you think of Zec's tips? What advice would you give to others about hospital and doctor's appointments? Let us know now.