A visit to the doctor’s office isn’t fun for anybody. It would be fair to say that it’s exhausting, especially if you’re experiencing ongoing health issues that are not being addressed by your medical provider. Unfortunately, you are not alone, as many people report feeling as though they’re not being taken seriously by medical professionals. While being disregarded is a significant challenge to overcome, taking charge of your medical care can help stop it before it occurs.

You Need to Be Listened to, Not Just Heard

It’s important to remember that you are in charge of your healthcare. It’s easy to forget this when you feel misunderstood during your visits, but your health belongs to you. You know when something doesn’t feel right and you’re allowed to make your concerns known.

Part of self-advocacy involves doing your own research regarding your medical concerns. This is not to discredit your doctor, but to supplement his or her judgment with your own insights. Take notes, write down symptoms, and plan your visit before you’re seen. This way, you can examine each of your concerns in an organized list to ensure you’ve covered everything.

Ask Questions

Do not be afraid to ask your doctor to clarify something if you are confused or simply want more information. Not only will asking questions about your concerns improve your quality of care, it will show your doctor that you value his advice. Mutual respect between doctors and patients helps build a professional bond, which encourages an open and comprehensive line of communication.

Don’t Go It Alone

If you have a chronic health condition, you might find that you become so weary by the midpoint of your visit that you do not cover all the concerns you had before you arrived at your appointment. In these situations, it helps to have support. If at all applicable, bring someone with you to your appointments, someone who knows you well enough to assist you with remembering treatment instructions or providing information. Medical professionals are more likely to validate a patient’s concerns when an advocate accompanies them.

You Have Options

If you have any tests performed during your visit, ask for a copy of the results. Keeping detailed documentation of your medical records can be useful if you need to get a second opinion. This need may arise should you like to confirm your doctor’s initial diagnosis with another provider, or if despite your best efforts, your doctor is not a good fit for you. Having your information readily available will make the transition between providers much quicker and easier.

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