• Serious aged woman clinic visitor stand close to confident female doctor with clipboard ask questions about diagnosis.

Have you ever been to visit your healthcare provider and you left with unanswered questions or no real follow up? Perhaps you asked a question about a symptom or experience you had, and you don't feel like you were taken seriously, or the concern went unaddressed? If this left you feeling unsatisfied or disappointed in your experience with your provider or team, you're not alone. The good news is that there are things we can do to prepare for an interaction with our health providers that can help us get what we need from the visit.

Getting good healthcare is essential to living a health life, especially as we age and encounter new health challenges. Whether we are the patient or if we're supporting someone we care for, we will have questions about things like symptoms, medications, tests, and diagnosis. It's important to have a positive relationship with members of our healthcare team and that means having good communication where we feel like we're being heard and that our concerns are taken seriously. Part of getting good healthcare is our responsibility as a patient, or caregiver, and how we prepare for a visit with our healthcare team or provider can go a long way to having a satisfying experience.

One thing that we can do to prepare for a visit with our provider is to make a list to bring with us that includes our symptoms, changes, and questions. Make sure the list includes any changes to your routine such as starting an exercise program or discontinuing a medication another provider prescribed. Give your list to your provider at the start of your visit and let them know it includes some concerns you'd like to discuss. We can't expect that all our concerns will be met in a single visit, but your provider may identify which concerns from your list are priorities for that day.

To have good communication, we must ask questions and write things down. Repeat back to your provider any directions or next steps they or you have committed to take. Be honest with your provider if there are recommendations that you don't feel comfortable with, as they may have alternative suggestions. Thank your provider for their time and follow up with them. If you don't have another visit scheduled, you may be able to communicate with your provider through an online portal where you can exchange messages regarding your condition.

If you have one or more chronic health conditions, you know what it is like to try to balance your health along with other responsibilities and commitments in life. We all want to live healthy and enjoy the things in life we want to do, whether that's social activity, a career, or doing things we enjoy like walking or gardening. UNH Extension offers a workshop called "Take Charge of Your Health" that brings together people with ongoing or chronic health conditions to learn tools to be proactive in managing their health. The workshop meets once a week for six weeks and is offered virtually and in some community settings. To learn more about this free program and when it is being offered click the button below.

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Health & Well-Being Field Specialist
Extension Field Specialist, Health & Well-Being
Phone: (603) 255-3556 ext. 809
Office: UNH Cooperative Extension, Taylor Hall, Durham, NH 03824