As you’re sitting there in a clinic, after you’ve been seen and are wrapping up the visit to leave, there comes a point when the doctor or nurse will ask if there is anything else they can do for you. This is an opportunity missed by many! In that moment, you have the chance to gain clarification, better understand any news you just received, and prepare for recovery from whatever it is you’re suffering from. Don’t worry, we’ve got your back! Check out this list of 10 questions you should ask before leaving the clinic, and why they’re in your best interest.
1. What is my diagnosis?
Often, we see our health providers and leave feeling like we have no answers. This is a very simple way to clear up that issue. Ask the doctor or nurse what your diagnosis is. Be sure to write it down in case you want to learn more about it.
2. What is the prognosis?
Prognosis is a fancy term used in describing the likelihood of your recovery. The answer will most likely be in terms of good, fair, or requiring more treatment. The term “good” means you are expected to make a full recovery. The term “fair” means you may make a full recovery, but it may take some time or you may have issues along the way. The term “requiring more treatment” means the doctor’s visit was only your first stop in this journey. You will need additional treatment to make a full recovery.
3. What treatment am I receiving?
Asking about the treatment you’re receiving will do two things: clarify the treatment (i.e. medications, physical therapy), and solidify the information in your mind. We know visiting the doctor can leave patients feeling anxious and rushed. Asking this question gives the doctor or nurse an opportunity to give you a very simple breakdown of what treatment you’re receiving. It also affords them another chance to better explain the medications you’re being prescribed for your ailment.
4. How do I follow this treatment plan?
This question goes hand in hand with question #4. It’s very important you understand exactly how you’re supposed to follow your treatment plan. Whether it’s a medication schedule (i.e. a medication in the morning on an empty stomach, a different medication 4 hours after that), specific exercises, or even physical therapy, you want to be clear on how you should follow through with it. The answers will come in a time and date scheduled format. Make sure you have a pen ready!
5. What can’t I eat, and what supplements should I avoid taking while on this treatment plan?
Did you know dairy products can interfere with the absorption of certain medications? Or that St. John’s Wart can interact or magnify the effects of some medications? It’s very important to tell your doctor about any supplements you’re taking, even if they don’t seem like something that can affect your treatment. By asking your doctor what you should avoid taking or eating while on your treatment plan, you can avoid sticky situations of prolonged ailments and adverse reactions.
6. How long will it take for this treatment to begin working?
This question will help you better understand how long you can anticipate feeling ill or injured, and when you should expect to begin feeling better. It’s for your reference, and while it’s not a cut and dry matter, having some sort of timeline to base the next few days off of will be beneficial. It also gives you a better idea of when you should seek medical attention again if you aren’t recovering well. Which brings us to #7…
7. What should I do if I don’t get better?
Ask your doctor or nurse what to do if halfway through the anticipated recovery time you don’t necessarily feel worse, but you don’t feel better either. The human body can be finicky – sometimes it will take several days for a treatment plan to begin producing results you can feel. By asking this question you’ll have an idea of when “no change” in the way you feel means the treatment is not working well enough to help you heal. You’ll be given guidance specific to your ailment. It may be something as simple as calling the clinic, gargling saltwater, or soaking in a salt bath.
8. What should I do if I feel worse?
This is a great question because it is a completely reasonable concern. You may have been misdiagnosed due to the ailment not being far enough along in its process to present itself as what it actually is rather than ailments that are similar to it, but not the same. You may not be responding well to the medication you are taking. Your ailment may have progressed to something more. Or, your body may need a little help from something as simple as staying hydrated and receiving plenty of rest before it can begin to heal. The answers to these possibilities are very specific to whatever you’re suffering from. That’s why it’s so important to ask what you should do if you begin to feel worse when you should begin to feel better.
9. What changes in my health should I watch for that may require me to seek medical attention?
Why play the guessing game when it comes to your health? After all, Google can be a scary place when researching health issues (you opened the internet with a headache and now you’re certain you have an extremely rare brain tumor because THAT IS A SYMPTOM. We’ve all been there at some point, rest assured). Instead, simply ask your doctor what changes you should watch for that may require further medical attention.
10. What changes in my health should I watch for that would require an emergency room visit?
We published a blog awhile back about whether you should visit the healthcare clinic or the emergency room? This is your chance to receive a tailored answer from your doctor or nurse! Ask them what changes in health you should keep an eye out for that would require a trip to the E.R. rather than the healthcare clinic.
We know a trip to the doctor can be distressing, especially when you don’t feel well. We aim to make your visits helpful, organized, and efficient. Don’t be shy, print out this list to bring with you during your trip to one of our Medical Specialty Centers – Your Everyday Health Care Clinic in Gridley or Oroville. Walk-ins are welcome! We are more than happy to help in any way we can, including patient education about their own health status.Our mission at Orchard Hospital is to provide our community with superior health care. We strive to ensure that your experience at Orchard Hospital is as pleasant and comfortable as possible. Our priority is to provide you with the care you need when you need it, with skill, compassion, and respect.