Here are some tips to help you communicate better with members of your healthcare team:
- Write a list of questions before your appointment so you are prepared. It’s hard to think of everything while in the appointment.
- Bring a notebook and write down the health professional’s answers or, even better, ask a family member or friend to do it for you. That will allow you to read the information later, taking the time you need to process it.
- Speak up if you are having trouble understanding an explanation or unfamiliar words. Your health professional may be able to draw a picture or give an example that will help you understand.
- Let your health professional know if you are interested in seeking a second opinion. Most of them will understand the value of a second opinion, and they may even be able to recommend another health professional.
- Ask your health professional where you can find additional information or printed materials about your condition. Many health services have this information readily available.
- Talk with your healthcare team about information you have found on the Internet or in books or magazines. Not all information is accurate, reliable or up-to-date. Some information from overseas may not be relevant to Australia.
Healthdirect Australia has a very useful guide on questions to ask your doctor.