Get Better Care - Get Involved
You have a lot of support when it comes to getting safe and effective health care,
including a team made up of your doctors, nurses, other medical staff, family, and
friends. To get the best care possible, it also takes your active participation
in issues that affect your health. This means being involved in decisions about
your care and asking questions of your team so that you can make informed choices.
It also means coming prepared for your medical appointments and treatments and then
knowing the steps to take after you receive services. Here are some ways to get
the most out of your team and to have a positive experience with your health care.
- Get to know your caregiver. Research shows
that patients who have a good relationship with their clinicians receive better
care and are happier with the treatment they get. Health concerns can be sensitive
and emotionally-charged issues, so the more trust you develop with your caregivers,
the better an experience you can expect during treatment.
- Give relevant information. Tell your clinician
about your health history, symptoms, medications, and allergies. Make sure your
doctor has a complete list of all medications you are taking currently, including
prescription and over-the-counter medicines, as well as dietary supplements such
as vitamins and herbs.
- Ask for details. During a medical appointment,
hospital evaluation, or other health service, you will want information about your
condition so that you can support your care and recovery. These are the times when
you need to ask questions and take notes. If you are uncertain about something that
was said or if you are not sure that you will remember the information, ask the
caregiver to repeat it or write it down for later review.
- Understand your diagnosis. The information
that your caregiver provided to you may be vital to your future health. However,
the medical field is complex and there are many factors that could affect your condition.
Take the time to learn all that you can about treatment from your clinician, and
ask for additional sources to turn to so that you can become more familiar with
- Follow up. After treatment, remember to schedule
the appointments and lab work that your physician recommends. Also, it is important
to contact your caregiver after your treatment if you have more questions, if you
experience side effects, or if your symptoms get worse.
- Get support. You can ask a family member
or a friend to assist you when you receive services. Find someone you trust to be
your “advocate”: a person who can help get things done and speak for you during
health care if you are unable.
- Be the team leader. Getting good health care
is about taking control of your experience. By preparing for your treatment and
participating in the decisions your team makes, you can expect an overall improvement
in your health care.
Louisiana Health Finder has developed a series of guides to give you best practices
for handling different health issues you may face. Explore them all below.