What is the point of being an active patient?
Getting a chronic diagnosis and then learning to live with it can be tough—most people who have experienced it know that. Needing care and entering the role of a patient may not at all be in line with one’s self-image or the life one sees ahead. Should one then also be an active patient?
There are, of course, many ways to be active and engaged in contact with healthcare. However, what they all have in common is that you put yourself in the driver’s seat and do what you can to ensure that you and your body get what you need from the cooperation with healthcare.
It can involve logging your health to create your own valuable statistics, notifying your doctor if your health changes, or making sure you ask the questions you need answered—and that you actually get answers that you understand.
What do I have to gain?
When you show both yourself and the healthcare personnel around you that you want to be involved, you are immediately creating conditions for better health.
It will be easier to get the right care at the right time if you yourself are involved and have control of the situation, and control of your own statistics. You won’t get a medicine prescribed based solely on the doctor's assessment—instead you take part in the discussion about what could be a good solution to you, based on your needs. And you and your doctor can evaluate the results of the treatment together.
Of course it’s not always easy. Sometimes it can feel as if communication with healthcare is not very smooth, or for some reason you don’t get the help you need. But maybe you could start there?
Ask for that referral to a foot specialist one more time. Be clear about why it’s important to you to be able to garden or take daily walks without pain, and that you therefore want this to be one of the goals of your treatment. Try to find strength in the knowledge that it’s for your own sake that you are doing this, and that you can actually influence your situation.
Where should I start?
For support and inspiration, you can take part of Elsa's program “The healthcare encounter” which is available in the app. There you can, among other things, get tips on how to prepare for a doctor’s visit:
If you have written down questions—make sure to rank them so that you will surely have time to get answers to the ones that are most important to you.
Check with the people closest to you on how you've been—they may remember a worse period that you yourself managed to repress.
Bring a family member or a close friend to the meeting who can help you ask questions and understand the answers.
Check out the program for more tips. Take the chance to get as much as possible out of the meeting!