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Monday, June 3, 2013

6 Tips to Improve Communication with Your Doctor

1. Use the Explain Back/Teach Back method. After the doctor tells you about your disease, explain back to the doctor what was you think he or she said. This will allow you to check to see if you understood the information correctly and for the doctor to clarify anything you got wrong.

2. When the doctor or nurse gives you instructions to follow when you go home, repeat back or explain back what he or she just said. Again, this way you will be able to make sure you got it right. 

3. Ask the doctor or nurse to write the information down for you or you can write it down yourself. Have the person check to make sure you wrote everything down correctly.

4. Bring a tape recorder or use your cell phone to record the instructions and information about your disease.

5. Bring a helpful loved one with you. A second set of ears can help you remember the details that were discussed.  If your support person can’t be there in person, he or she can call in and listen through a speaker phone in the office or hospital.  By using a speaker phone, the support person can also provide additional information and can ask any other questions that might be important.

6. If you have questions when you get home, call and have the person explain it to you again or make a follow up appointment to talk it through again.

Are there any tips you find useful when communicating with your doctor, not mentioned above? We'd love your feedback! 
Have a kind and respectful day.
Viki is a clinical bioethicist, educator and hospice volunteer. Her award winning book, “The Caregiver’s Path to Compassionate Decision Making: Making Choices for Those Who Can't,” guides families and professionals through the difficult process of making decisions for those who have lost capacity.