The best way to make your visit an easy one is to be ready before you go. Make sure you have everything you will need. Here are some ideas to help you get started (10).
Things to Bring:
-Medication List (example)
Your doctor will want to know what medications you have been taking, including prescription, over-the-counter, supplements, etc. . . .
-Health Journal (example: English, Spanish)
A health journal is more exhaustive than a medication list. It includes your medical history, allergies, injuries, surgeries, illnesses, and family medical history (for example, one or multiple relatives have breast cancer).
-Friend or Relative
A doctor's appointment can be filled with new information regarding your health, not to mention the emotions tied to your physical health. It may be helpful to bring a trusted friend or family member to help you understand the new information. Sometimes it can help to have a second opinion and the support of a friend, especially when the appointment involves an emotional topic.
You should also consider bringing a friend or family member if you have limited language abilities. On top of feeling more comfortable with a friend present, he or she can help you communicate effectively with the doctor. Recent research has shown that some doctors may offer less advice to patients they have a hard time talking to (because of language differences) (8). Just make sure your friend can help translate in both directions!
-List of Questions (examples from: Department of Health and Human Services, National Patient Safety Foundation)
This may be the most important thing to remember. It's best to bring a list of questions so that you remember everything you want to ask. For starters:
8.Lopez-Quintero C, Berry EM, Neumark Y (2009). Limited English proficiency is a barrier to receipt of advice about physical activity and diet among Hispanics with chronic diseases in the United States. Journal of the American Dietetic Association 109(10):1769-74.
10.Talking With Your Doctor (Last Updated 10 November 2009). MedlinePLUS. Retrieved from http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/