Do you ever find yourself having to be your own case manager? Having a chronic illness , I find that I am the only one who actually manages my health care. I don't just mean in how I take care of myself, but also in how others take care of me. I am having some health problems currently and my doctor is referring me to another doctor. His nurse made me an appointment to see the other doctor October 19. When I was in his office he told me he would get some answers for me about what I could do if I could not get a "timely" appointment with the other doctor. I found myself calling back to get my questions answered because the nurse did not give me the answers that the doctor had said he would give. If we do not speak up and call our doctors to get our questions answered and our concerns addressed then they may never get taken care of. We think our doctors are the ones who know the most about us and we trust them to provide our care, but we must be active participants in that care, or we could be forgotten in a pool of needy patients that the doctor has to care for. I am finding that it is best to keep records of doctor visits, health issues and concerns. I keep these in a notebook that I carry with me everywhere. It also serves as my journal and it has a written record of my information. I know I am not able to remember every visit and what is discussed and decided. When you have chronic health issues, you may see multiple doctors and it can get confusing. It is best to keep a log of doctors visited, issues discussed and the treatment plan. I also keep a log of medical tests and results, along with visits to the emergency room and hospital. My recommendations for dealing with chronic health issues:
1. Develop a format for recording health information as it pertains to you. There are many sites on the Internet with already developed forms if you do a search or you can create forms that work for you and your situation. Keep a journal of symptoms, doctor visits, medications, tests, treatments, etc.
2. Carry that record with you as you never know when you may need it. Most importantly take it to doctor's appointments and visits to the hospital.
3. Followup on calls to the doctor. If your questions are not answered, then don't sit back and wait to hear from the doctor, make another call.
4. Make a list of questions to ask the doctor at your next visit or a list of issues you need to discuss with your doctor.
5. Take someone with you to doctor visits. It is helpful for another person to hear the doctor's explanation and you can be sure that you heard what was said correctly. Sometimes we are so focused that we don't hear all the details.
6. Keep yourself educated and informed about your illness and up to date with new treatments or medications.
7. Take your issues to God in prayer. He can help us to understand more about our illness and how it affects our lives. When I am dealing with an issue, He often brings me to information and new insight through contacts that I have or people I meet.
The best person to manage your illness and informaton is the person that knows you best, YOU.
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