Optimizing Osteoarthritis Doctor Appointments
As both a patient and healthcare professional in training, I have witnessed how important a healthy relationship between the healthcare professional and patient can be.
Not just physicians — physical therapists, occupational therapists, pharmacists, nurses, and many other professionals are all integral parts of the healthcare team that a patient with osteoarthritis (OA) interacts with.
Unfortunately, the management of chronic pain and physical limitations can be frustrating and difficult for both the healthcare provider and patient. Here are a few tips I have learned over the years that help minimize frustration and foster a positive relationship with healthcare professionals.
Go in With an Open-Mind
It took an incredibly long time and I had to see a lot of healthcare professionals before I achieved adequate pain-relief. During that time I became jaded and close-minded to what any healthcare professional could offer me.
I figured I knew more about the pain I experienced than they did and didn’t think my experience with pain would be understood by them. However, little by little, I started to listen to what doctors were telling me.
I realized they’re more qualified than I am in understanding how to treat my pain and that maybe I need to have an open-mind to what advice they’ve been providing me.
As a patient, I am still chronically guilty of going into many doctors’ offices with a closed-mind. I try to justify this by thinking I know a lot or am qualified to my opinion, but it does me no good.
Putting our trust in healthcare professionals might be difficult because of bad experiences. However, by going in with an open-mind, that one healthcare professional might be able to help us make our lives as normal as possible while living with chronic pain.
Try to Be Organized
A person’s medical history can get complicated after having a chronic disease for so long.
The amount of hospitals, doctors, treatments and medications you have tried add up and it can be difficult for a healthcare provider to decipher through all of them simply by your memory.
After a few years of seeing many healthcare professionals for my chronic back pain, I started to keep a record of all of the places and treatments I had pursued. Although it was cumbersome, I really felt like it made getting the healthcare professional up to speed on my condition easy and we could move forward from there.
It quickly eliminated procedures they would have advised had they not seen that I already had those procedures or therapies done. Honestly, sometimes the healthcare professionals would even use my medical summary to help them document our encounter. It proved useful and doctors seemed grateful that I came prepared and organized.
Next page: asking your osteoarthritis doctor questions, and how to say ‘no.’