How to effectively communicate with a care provider

Stephanie Jackson | Home Care & Home Healthcare, Health Concerns, Prevention, | May 01, 2017

As a patient, your relationship with a care provider is essential in recovery, preventing disease and maintaining your overall health. This is especially true if you are seeking home health services. Although health professionals can run tests and observe your medical data to reach conclusions or diagnoses and offer treatment, a lot of investigatory work they do comes from effective communication with you or your loved one.

Why communication matters in health
Many patients don't realize how much power they have in determining their own health outcomes, and a lot of that starts with the way they communicate with care providers. Patients actually have more access to information about preventative disease, alternative medicine, and traditional treatments than ever before with the internet as well.

That's why, according to the Family Caregiver Alliance, many medical professionals are now seeing the doctor-patient relationship as a partnership. The Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health also concluded that communication between doctors, patients, and their families actually improves patient health because they are more engaged and knowledgeable.

 

Come prepared to talk about your medical history with your care provider.

Come prepared to talk about your medical history with your care provider.

That means that you need to prepare for your medical appointments, break down barriers between yourself and your caregivers, and learn how to adequately communicate with medical personnel in a meaningful way. Not only does this remove the risk of medical error on their end, but it also helps you become better educated in your own health.

Learning how to communicate with health professionals
Communicating about your medical history with someone you just met might seem a little daunting, but there are ways to remove those barriers. Here are a few tips to help you prepare for your next appointment:

  • Have a list of questions prepared beforehand: In the days leading up to your appointment, write down some of the lingering questions you have about a certain condition or your general health. This ensures you don't leave anything important out, and it makes the appointment flow much more smoothly.
  • Think about bringing along a family member or friend for support: This can be especially helpful for those with physical disabilities or patients with cognitive decline. These individuals can keep notes about your care professional's treatment recommendations and also help you remember details about your medical history.
  • Be honest about your medical history: In order for your doctor to make the right recommendations, he or she will need to have a full and clear account of any conditions you may have struggled with in the past, whether they are physical, emotional or mental.
  • Include details about your mental health: Far too many people put their mental health on the back burner, but this aspect of your well-being is just as important in your recovery. If you have been noticing a cognitive decline or symptom of dementia, your care professional needs to know. Tackling these issues early on is key to prevention, and it starts with communication.

Clear communication with your doctor isn't just important for medical professionals, it's also imperative in keeping your health in the best shape possible moving forward.