What exactly is a question? A question is an expression that is used to request information. When we have concerns about our health and wellness, sometimes the questions to ask come easily to us and sometimes we may not be sure where to start. Even those who feel comfortable asking questions to friends and colleagues may feel intimated to ask their doctors questions. Some of our clients have shared that they don’t want to seem like they are “questioning” the expertise of their physicians or are concerned that the answers won’t be in in language that they can understand. Regardless, it is important to ask questions, even if it is simply to confirm that everyone understands the current status and the plan going forward.
According to the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, “Asking questions about your diagnosis, treatments, and medicines can improve the quality, safety, and effectiveness of your healthcare. A simple question can help you feel better, let you take better care of yourself, or save your life.”
Five questions that can be a helpful starting point:
- What is my diagnosis?
- What are my options for treatment?
- Will there be tests? What are they and are there preparations that I need to do? When and how will the results be shared with me?
- If medication is being prescribed, what is it, what are the potential side effects, and are there special instructions? How long do you estimate I will need to be on the medication/s?
- How might my diagnosis and treatments affect my life/family/job/hobbies?
One way that our clients feel empowered is to talk through the questions in advance of a visit with their doctor. Many find it helpful to write the questions down so that they do not have to try to remember them while listening to what is being discussed. It is also beneficial to have a family member, friend, and/or nurse care coordinator at the appointments with you as additional support to help with remembering questions to ask and information shared from the doctors and their team members.
At 2×2 Health, we inspire confidence, navigate complexity, and provide expert care in a genuinely compassionate manner. Our specialization includes partnering with various medical providers and specialists, and clients of all ages. We excel at facilitating smooth transitions of care and enhancing communication with healthcare providers and family members. We’ll be there to help navigate the increasingly complex healthcare system—as an extra set up eyes and ears to improve communication, help with the understanding of treatment options, prepare and answer questions, and are always available when needed. When we are there for you and your family members, you can support them in ways that you feel best equipped: to hold their hand, be a comforting shoulder for them to lean on, or to simply listen and reassure them because we do a great deal of the heavy lifting when it comes to healthcare interpretation and navigation. We help with formulating questions, getting answers to your questions, and providing an environment of knowledge and support. We are here for you, and we are in your corner.
Healthcare with you. Healthcare for you.
Wendy Benson, MBA, OTR/L
Reference: Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality