It’s important that patients and families actively participate in patient health and health care. Studies have shown that more involved patients are more satisfied. One possible reason is that involved patients feel more in control; they understand their condition and make decisions to do what they can to be healthier.
Here are a few easy things you can do to be more involved in your care:
Bring Your Medication List
Bring a list of all your medications, both prescription and over-the-counter, to your doctor visits. If you receive a new prescription, ask your doctor what it’s for, when to take it, how to take it, and if there are any potential side effects. Keep your list updated. Try to fill all your prescriptions at the same place, so that your pharmacist can check for drug interactions.
Watch whether your health care providers wash their hands before touching you. If you’re not sure, it’s okay to ask them. Hand washing is the single most important thing everyone can do to prevent the spread of infections.
If you have a chronic disease like heart failure or diabetes, ask your health care provider about any “red flags” that indicate your condition requires additional attention. Ask them what you can do to be healthier, such as changing the way you eat or being more physically active.
Review Your Discharge Plan
When leaving the hospital or any care setting, ask your doctor for written discharge instructions. Review them with your doctor to make sure you understand them.
Small steps like these can greatly improve the quality of your care in addition to quality of life.