To ensure that you get the most out of your appointments with health care providers, you might want to make a list of questions, concerns, or changes that you’d like to discuss with your doctor. In the midst of an appointment, it sometimes easy to forget things that you intended to bring up. Making a list of issues could assist the physician in his or her detective work. Start your list several days in advance of your visit, giving yourself time to think of any additional information that needs to be included. When you arrive at your appointment, ask the receptionist or nurse to make a copy of your list. Give one to the doctor to review at the beginning of your appointment. Review it again at the end of your visit to ensure that all important issues have been addressed to your satisfaction.
It is also a good idea to bring along a copy of your current medications and supplements. You may save yourself some stress trying to remember spellings and dosages. Reviewing medications and supplements at each appointment is important, especially if you are seeing a new doctor or multiple doctors. Don’t apologize for bringing information and questions to the doctor. A good doctor will appreciate your questions.
Some sample questions might be:
- What do you think are the most important health issues I need to work on right away?
- What are the possible side effects of the medication you are suggesting?
- How can I lose weight?
- What do you suggest for a healthy diet?
- When and how are the best ways to get in touch with you?
- Are you willing to talk with and work with other family members or supporters if I give you permission to do so?
Review our helpful Appointment Prep List as you prepare for a visit with your physician.
Mary Ellen Copeland, PhD, developed Wellness Recovery Action Plan (WRAP) with a group of people with lived experience who were attending a mental health recovery workshop in 1997. She is the original author of the WRAP Red Book, as well as dozens of other WRAP books and materials. She has dedicated the last 30 years of her life to learning from people who have mental health issues; discovering the simple, safe, non-invasive ways they get well, stay well, and move forward in their lives; and then sharing what she has learned with others through keynote addresses, trainings, and the development of books, curriculums, and other resources. Now that she is retired, and that, as she intended, others are continuing to share what she has learned, she continues to learn from those who have mental health issues and those who support them. She is a frequent contributor to this site.