January 11, 2017

Setting expectations for the unexpected

Have you ever accompanied a loved one to the doctor and heard a diagnosis you just weren't expecting? Or have you had the same experience regarding your own health? If so, you might recall a loud buzzing in your ears and not having a very clear memory of what followed "Well, here's what we know . . ."

First, consider taking an "appointment buddy" with you anytime you visit the doctor. Another set of ears--and a note-taker--can be invaluable. Second, here is a useful tool from The Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, which is part of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services:

The 10 Questions You Should Know:

1. What is the test for?
2. How many times have you done this procedure?
3. When will I get the results?
4. Why do I need this treatment?
5. Are there any alternatives?
6. What are the possible complications?
7. Which hospital is best for my needs?
8. How do you spell the name of that drug?
9. Are there any side effects?
10. Will this medicine interact with medicines that I'm already taking?
AHRQ web site

And I would add:
11. Can I call you if I think of any other questions after I leave here today?

There's a reason we call it Advance Care Planning. Print this list of questions, put it in your wallet and I hope you never need it. But, just in case you do . . .