Tips for Talking With Your Neurologist
- by Lauren R.
- February 20, 2017
Lauren R. is a paid employee of Teva Neuroscience, Inc.
Learn how to improve your communication with your neurologist by trying these tips!
Relapsing Multiple sclerosis is a complex disease that requires the expertise of various health care providers. Good communication with your doctor is vital to making appropriate choices about your health. For various reasons, a doctor’s appointment can sometimes be short or feel rushed. Teamwork and open communication are essential to getting the most out of your appointments.
Here are some things you can do to improve communication with your doctor:
- Prior to your appointment, set goals and make a list of questions that you want to have answered. Having a plan will help make your appointment more successful.
- In between doctor’s appointments, keep an ongoing list of things you would like to discuss. When something comes up, whether it is a symptom, something you read online, or a question about a relapsing MS treatment, write it down so that you don’t forget.
- Keep track of your symptoms’ frequency, severity and triggers. It will also be helpful for your doctor to know what has worked or not worked when trying to relieve the symptoms. This information will help provide the doctor with a clearer picture of what is occurring.
- Make time to see your doctor. Your plan of care is built on your doctor’s expertise as well as your goals and preferences.
- Be open and honest and freely discuss your concerns. Speak up, even if you think the topic is irrelevant or embarrassing, because reporting your symptoms helps guide your management plan. In case you’d like help getting started, here are some suggested questions to ask your doctor.
- Bring a friend or family member to take notes and help communicate your concerns. Appointments can be overwhelming, and you don’t want to miss any information.
- Keep routine appointments and schedule others if you need more time to discuss something.
Be your own advocate:
- Bring your list and prioritize what you must have answered. Ask questions to make sure you understand the diagnosis and treatment.
- Request more information if needed. Take home educational materials provided by your doctor so you can review and process new information in a comfortable environment.
- Call or email your health care provider when questions or urgent matters arise. If a doctor is unavailable, nurses and pharmacists are also good resources for information.
- Learn where to access your medical records. This will allow you to track appointments and test results.
- If you feel like the doctor isn’t listening, let him or her know. You have the right to be listened to and to be taken seriously. Speaking up will make the doctor aware and allow them to respond so they can support you. Doctors want to help.
Ultimately, communication is a two-way street that requires teamwork. It is vital that your doctor be someone with whom you feel comfortable and trust, so open communication can exist. Having this type of relationship can benefit your overall health, so it is worth taking the time to establish a workable doctor-patient relationship. For more information on how to get the most out of your doctor’s appointments, check out these five tips another Shared Solutions® nurse put together.
Please keep in mind that we do not allow mentions of doctors or hospitals by name in the comments section. We hope that you share your stories without those mentions.
Shared Solutions® Nurse
About The Author
Lauren R., RN MSCN, is an MS Certified Nurse who works at Teva's Shared Solutions®. She has specialized in multiple sclerosis for three years and has 10 years of nursing experience.
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Teva's Lift MS® Team | September 21, 2017We are glad to hear that you are interested in learning more, Maureen. Teva has a list of educational resources, which you can check out here: https://www.copaxone.com/multiple-sclerosis-community/educational-resources. We hope this helps.
hw | October 15, 2017Always, and I can't emphasize this too much, bring a tape recorder with you to your doctors appointment. Record everything which relates to you.
Also record any interaction with members of the practice staff.
If you feel you doctor is not listening to you; leave the office, write him/her a letter and when the bill from the insurance comes in, disputed with facts that you have recorded.