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Be Your Own Health Supporter

There’s a lot to understand and remember when you go to the doctor. Stand up for yourself/ Take an active role in the care that you receive. You understand the importance of making sure you are heard and your needs are being met. Don’t be afraid to ask for what you need.

Below are some tips that will help you to be a better advocate for your health and the health of your baby.

Have the confidence to ask questions

Answering your questions and helping you understand your medical care is a big part of your doctor’s job. Don’t be afraid to speak up if you don’t understand something your doctor tells you. It’s your health and you are allowed to ask questions!

Bring a notebook as a reminder for yourself or use your phone to record your medical visits. Write down questions to ask your doctor, your doctor’s suggestions, and anything else you need to remember about the visit.

Understand Your Care

Take the time to make sure you and your doctor understand one another. If you are unclear about what they say, you need to ask. At every visit you have with a health care provider you should ask:

  • What is my main problem? (Tell me what’s wrong)
  • What do I need to do?
  • Why is it important for me to do this?

Medical terms can be hard to understand. For a list of common medical terms, visit National Patient Safety Foundation’s “Words to Watch – Fact Sheet.”

Know Your Dosages

Understand your medication and dosage. When you are given medication, you need to know:

  • What is it for?
  • How often do I take it (dosage)? TIP: Take medications for the prescribed amount of time. Continue even if you start to feel better. You may still have more medicine left. There is a chance you may get sick again.
  • What if I forget to take a pill?
  • Why do I need it?
  • What are the side effects?

Your doctor or pharmacist will be able to answer your questions. Make sure to write down the answers in your notebook or phone.

Making your way through the healthcare system can sometimes feel like you are going through a maze. It’s hard trying to figure out insurance plans, doctors, hospitals, and medications. When you finally see a doctor, it can sometimes feel like a one-way conversation. Remember, you have a voice. What you have to say is important. You have control over your options and treatment.

Don’t be afraid to speak up for yourself and your health.Here’s why:

1. Doctors are good, but they can’t fix everything.

Many healthcare issues have to do with issues that doctors have no control over. You decide what you eat, if you smoke, and how much you exercise. Your doctor may offer you suggestions on how to be healthy, but you make the decisions. These choices play a huge role in your health. It’s up to you to decide how you want to take care of yourself. There are resources available to help you do what you can.

2. Medical care is expensive.

The cost of healthcare, insurance, and medicine continue to rise. Being physically active, eating nutritious foods, and learning to make healthy choices are ways to help you take care of your own body and reduce your chances of getting sick. By taking charge of your own health and staying informed, you can reduce your healthcare costs.

3. You deserve satisfaction.

Many times you may not get the results you are looking for from your doctor. You may feel rushed or confused about the advice from your doctor. Know what questions to ask and make sure you understand the answers. If you’re unclear about anything, speak up. Take the time to find a doctor who respects you and who you can talk to. This can improve your satisfaction with the care you get.

4. The healthcare system is not perfect.

The system can make errors. No one is perfect, even your doctors. You can help to reduce these mistakes by knowing about your care. For example, write down your medications or bring your pills with you to visits. This helps to avoid any confusion or mistakes.


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