Your family medicine doctor is there to help keep you and your family healthy, but sometimes it’s easy to forget that. When you’re sick or have a problem, it’s natural to focus on yourself and try to get better—and that’s okay! But one thing that can help ensure your family doctor will always be there for you is by keeping them on your side. Here are some tips for doing just that:
Don’t Wait Until You’re Sick To Call Your Doctor
It’s easy to think that the best thing to do when you don’t feel well is to wait until you visit your family medicine doctor the next day. But, says Dr Francene Gayle, this can be unhelpful and lead to bad communication or, even worse, missed diagnoses.
If you have any concerns about your health or that of a family member, call them immediately. It’s better for both parties involved if they know about potential problems before they become issues rather than waiting until after something has happened so they can fix it then and there.
Take An Active Role In Your Health Care
You have the right, as a patient, to be an involved participant in the healthcare decisions that affect you. What this indicates is that you need to:
- Ask questions about any diagnosis or treatment plan. If you don’t understand something, ask the doctor to explain it again in more detail.
- Be willing to accept an opinion from another physician if a second opinion is needed. Instead of assuming a doctor’s diagnosis or therapy is correct, use common sense and do what feels right for you.
Set Up A Relationship With Your Doctor
If you’re considering changing physicians, schedule a meeting with the new one. During this encounter, enquire about the doctor’s education and experience. Ask them about their availability and philosophical approaches to medicine as well. Dr Francene Gayle also suggests that you inform your doctor of your preferred method of contact so that you can both be on the same page when it comes to follow-up visits or phone calls about health problems.
Bring Up Problems Or Concerns
Don’t wait until you’re sick to call your doctor. Ask questions and be open about what’s on your mind, even if it feels embarrassing or awkward. Your family medicine doctor is there for you and wants to help in any way they can, so don’t feel bad about asking for a referral or getting a second opinion if necessary.
Be comfortable talking about topics like sex drugs/alcohol use, depression, and anxiety–anything that might affect your health of yourself or someone in your family could affect how well they treat you when they do see patients later down the line.
Find A Doctor Who Listens And Respects Your Family’s Best Interests
It’s crucial to find a doctor who listens to you and values your family’s needs. You deserve a doctor who knows that making decisions when you’re worried about a loved one’s health is difficult. If the doctor doesn’t seem to be attentive, speak up! Medical staff should never frighten you.
If this doesn’t work and the doctor doesn’t change after numerous attempts at communication, it may be time to find a doctor who understands how important communication between patient and practitioner is. Ask peers and family if they know anyone else who has been well-treated by their primary care provider.