During Visits Tips

The time you spend with your doctor can seem to disappear in a flash. Be prepared to clarify, ask questions and follow these tips to get the most out of your time.

1. Bring the notes you have prepared

If you’ve done your homework and written down a few things before your appointment, be sure to bring the notes with you. Bring the notes into the examination room. Don’t leave them in the waiting area.

2. Ask questions

Don’t hold back. Don’t be afraid to ask a “stupid” question. And it is okay to ask a question more than once if you didn’t understand the answer the first time.

3. Do you understand the tests that have been ordered?

If a test is ordered, do you understand what is involved and why it is being ordered? Ask for clarification if you are uneasy about it.

4. Do you understand your medications?

If a medication is prescribed, do you understand why? Do you understand how it should be taken? Are you clear about the side effects? Get answers, especially if it is a new prescription.

5. Take notes

It is okay to take notes during your appointment. This is a great reason for bringing someone to the appointment with you so he or she can take notes for you while you listen and ask questions.

6. Do you need a prescription refilled?

Ask if any prescriptions need refilling.

7. Do you understand your treatment plan?

Before the appointment is over, ask yourself, “Do I understand the overall plan for my care?” Having a clear idea of the treatment strategy wil help you stick with it.

8. Do you understand your responsibilities?

People who have IBD must be active patients. This is not a bystander’s condition. Patients have responsibilities. Do you understand what they are? The tests you must get? The medications you must take? How about the advice you’ve gotten about nutrition, exercise, and stress reduction? Do you understand what you can do to follow through? What about your next appointment. Has it been scheduled?

9. Have your goals for the appointment been met?

Before the appointment is over, take a look at your notes. Have your questions been answered? Review in your mind whether the goals and expectations you had for appointment have been met. Speak up if they haven’t. It’s true what they say: you, the patient, need to advocate for yourself.