What things can you do to ensure better healthcare?

I often reflect back on my experiences over the past 11 + years and know that I want my future healthcare to be better than my past. I have been putting a lot of thought into what I could of done better or things I wish I knew then that I know now… Here are my top 5 tips for others trying to navigate the minefield of the health system. First, communication with my health team. Now I have a great health team but it wasn’t always that way. Find out from your provider what they would like you to do if you have an emergency. My provider has asked me to call him and let him know I am on my way to the hospital and has even suggested specific hospitals so that if I am admitted he has access to treat me or help treat me easier than trying to explain my case to new providers. You should ask your provider which hospital has the best care for your specific condition. Also, if you are treated at the hospital, be sure to get the followup care instructions. When you head out to your provider for a visit or to a hospital… bring a list of your medications and doses. If you have any questions or doubts take a pause. It is OK to ask questions and be sure you understand the answers. Don’t do anything you are not comfortable with because you feel pressure from a provider. When possible bring a caregiver or friend with you to help you ask questions and take written notes to refer back to at a later time. Speaking of records. Always keep your records from every visit and your results from all procedures and tests so you can pass them on to future providers as needed. Don’t assume that the results are fine if you don’t hear back from your provider. Call your provider and ask for the results  and what that means to your future care. Finally, if you need surgery and have a chronic care condition be sure to have a plan and procedures in place prior to starting. Ask all the questions you need to before surgery day! You need to know who will manage your care at the hospital, and after. Also ask exactly what the surgeon will be doing, how long it will take, and what recovery will be like. I go as far as bringing a sharpie with me and writing on my gown my name, the procedure I am to undergo, my allergies, and my husbands name and cell number. It may be a little overboard, but it does help give me peace of mind that I have a ‘voice’ while I am under anesthesia. Provided by Barby Ingle

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