Good Patient Doctor Relationship North Middlesex Luci Patient’s Forum 6 th December 2013. Angelina Namiba. Project Manager [email protected] Making the most of your healthcare team The key is to be: PREPARED.
The key is to be:
P - PlanWrite downAny questions you want to ask Any symptoms you have and how often you experience themTop 3 things you want to discussKnowYour CD4 count and viral loadThe names of any medication you are taking. Both ARVS and meds for other conditions.
R – ResearchIf you’re experiencing symptoms for the first time, ask other people taking treatments how they coped with similar symptoms.If you have access to a computer, do a simple search to get basic information.However, make sure you use reputable sites such as:HIV i-base http://i-base.info/The Body http://www.thebody.com/ Remember, Google and Wikipedia are not diagnostic tools, though they can provide some valuable information.
E – ExplainTalk to your healthcare provider about what is happening in detail. No matter how embarrassing it may be.Chances are, they have heard it many times before.If you are experiencing side effects, tell you doctor:How often they occurHow severe they areAnd to what extent they affect the quality of daily life
P – PrioritiseThough your healthcare providers shouldn’t rush you, most appointments will generally last for a few minutes.If there is something that really concerns you, then say it first.Don’t ask important questions as you are about to leave!Try to focus on one main complaint per appointment (three at the most), as this gives your healthcare provider enough time to deal with your issue(s) effectively.
A - Ask QuestionsBe ready to ask questions.It’s important to talk to your doctor about your medications.Ask about interactions between your ARVs and other drugs you are taking (legal or not!).Ask about things you are unsure about.If you don’t understand what your healthcare provider has said, ask them to repeat it or explain some more.Don’t hold back. It’s about your health!
A - Ask Questions (2)Write down what your healthcare provider tells you if you think you might forget.Give FeedbackShare your concerns. If things go wrong or you are not happy about how you have been treated, then let your healthcare providers know.Equally, give positive feedback if you feel well supported by your healthcare team.
R – ReturnGo back to the clinic or hospital if things don’t improve.If symptoms you are experiencing persist and don not improve, don’t ignore them.Some AVRs have side effects and can have symptoms that last for a short period of time. If, however, they persist past the stated period, then let your doctor know.Don’t ever feel that you are being a bother!
E - Explore other optionsIf you are unhappy with any explanation or decision made, it is ok to question your healthcare providers.It is important to do this in a non-confrontational way.If for example they think your persistant headaches may not be caused by your ARVs, ask why they think so and what else could be causing them.If you remain unconvinced, ask for a second opinion.
E - Explore other options The Power of Per support Peer support is extremely important. If you feel intimidated by doctors, then take someone you trust along to your next appointment.Speak with other people living with HIV about what works for them.