PREPARING FOR YOUR SPECIALIST APPOINTMENT
Something strange happens when many of us arrive for an appointment with a medical specialist–we seem to forget the symptoms that have appeared since our last visit.
As neurologist Professor Tim Anderson, Clinical Director of the New Zealand Brain Research Institute, pointed out this is a common occurrence for many patients which limits the usefulness of a consultation.
No matter their level of accomplishment, specialists simply aren’t able to guess an individual client’s specific experience of their condition since their previous visit, the symptoms that have appeared-or disappeared–and any favourable or unfavourable response to the medication they’re on.
Given the importance of these visits in the effective management of MS, applying simple strategies to be better prepared for visits allows us not only to help our doctors to help us but also to be more strategic about our health care.
So, what are the things you can do before, during, and after you see your specialist to get the greatest benefit from the visit?
A good first step is to approach an appointment with the same strategic intent as you would an important business meeting–be well prepared. Unlike a business meeting, you’re not entering a negotiation to persuade a good deal out of a reluctant supplier or client, but just like a business meeting you are trying to get the most out of the situation and this requires some planning.
Being able to report your symptoms and concerns accurately helps specialists get a better handle on your situation more quickly and will most likely lessen any anxiety you might usually experience as your appointment date approaches.
What is helpful when seeing your specialist
- Updated medication list
- The things that bother you most
- What things you would most like to be better
- Any other new medical problems
- A “significant other” to accompany you
- Written notes if your memory is a problem