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495559275_fd6961c670_mMany people experience anxiety when they go to the doctor in Birmingham, Alabama. The exam room can be quite intimidating, especially for senior patients. Conversations tend to be rushed and often little time is set aside for the patient to speak freely.

Effective patient-doctor communication helps the doctor gain insight into possible medical problems that you might be experiencing.  It will also help you be sure you understand your physician’s follow-up instructions.

Following are a few ideas to help you prepare for your next doctor’s appointment:

Ever feel like you are being rushed through your doctor’s appointment?  When making your next doctor’s appointment, explain that you are a senior patient and request a bit of additional time be added to your exam time. Even a few more minutes will allow you to discuss your concerns in a less hurried manner. Consider letting the nurse know your questions and specific symptoms when you schedule your appointment.  The nurse can then share this list with your doctor.

A friend or a family member can join you at your doctor’s visit.  They can be a second set of ears to listen to your doctor’s instructions and even take notes for you.  It is vital that the specifics of your discussion with your doctor will be remembered.

Put all of your questions down in writing and bring them with you to your appointment.   A list will help you stay on task and staying focused is key when talking with your doctor.

Having your detailed medical history on hand is a must, especially when meeting with a new doctor for the first time.  Essential items to include are current doctor’s information, recent prescriptions and dosage, allergy history, your insurance card, and any information/treatments concerning ongoing health issues.

Once you get to your doctor’s appointment, you may want to consider doing the following:

Be prepared to open up and tell your doctor about your specific symptoms. Knowing exactly what is bothering you will help your physician figure out what your course of treatment will be.

When you think your time with your doctor is winding up, ask your doctor for a summary of key points discussed during your appointment.  Do not be scared to ask questions!

At the end of your doctor’s visit, ask your doctor or the nurse to write down any written instructions for you.  Reviewing these ‘doctor’s orders’ will help you be clear about exactly what the follow up instructions for your treatment are.

Remember, you are your own best advocate when it comes to your health!  Maintaining constructive communication with your Birmingham doctor is key when it comes to working toward your optimal health care.