In the current healthcare environment, it is essential to have an advocate on your side. The person dealing with a health issue is focused on the experience. You can help by being there to gather information, ask questions and make sure the patient gets what is needed.
You’ve probably experienced this yourself – you have a million questions you want to ask your doctor but forget half of them until you leave the office. Or, the doctor is giving you some unpleasant news and you find later that you didn’t hear half of what she said.
Your loved one is going through the same thing. You can really help by acting as an advocate and being a partner in medical appointments. Ask your relative or friend if he would like you to accompany him to the doctor’s office. If not, offer to sit with him beforehand to help him prepare for the visit.
Specialists are very busy and they really do care about their patients. But they don’t have time to engage in long conversations. You can get their attention by asking specific questions. It helps to have them written down. You can download a copy for printing, or read them below.
You have the right to get the information you need. If you don’t understand the doctor’s answers, keep asking questions until you do understand. If the doctor can’t answer all your questions at one visit, ask if there is a support staff person who is trained to answer some of them. Ask if there is printed information or other resources the doctor can recommend. And, call us – we may be able to help.
Questions To Ask The Doctor
There are a few critical answers you need, especially for the newly diagnosed. You can download a PDF of these questions for printing, or you can read them here:
- Do I have dry or wet AMD?
- Can you tell what stage and how fast it may progress?
- Do I have it in both eyes? If not, is my other eye in danger?
- Should I watch for any changes in vision and call you?
- What can I do to prevent it from getting worse?
- Is there treatment available?
Questions About Treatment:
- What tests do you need to do and what will they tell you?
- What is the treatment for my macular degeneration?
- What are the benefits of this treatment, and how successful is it?
- What are the risks and side effects?
- Are there other treatment choices?
- Is the treatment covered by my insurance?
Questions About Lifestyle:
- Are there things I should be doing to slow the progression?
- Should I take vitamins? Change my diet?
- What about smoking?
- Could any of my medications cause a problem?
- Do you recommend sunglasses?
Questions About Vision:
- What is my current vision?
- Will a change of glasses help?
- If not, is it time to see a Low Vision Specialist? Can you recommend one?