Talking with your Doctors

Before your appointment:

  • Call ahead to see if you need to do anything before the appointment
  • Make a list of your questions and concerns
    • Write down the most important questions first
  • Bring a list of all the medications you take including over-the-counter medications, any herbal remedies and nutritional supplements.
    • Be sure to include when and how often you take them. Remember to talk about allergies / reactions
  • Bring someone along with you, especially if you expect to receive important information
    • This person can help you understand and/or remember details that have been discussed

 During your appointment:

  • Be proactive
  • Tell your doctor everything, even if you think it’s embarrassing. It may be very important to your doctor
  • Talk about your symptoms, health history, medication side effects, or other issues
  • Bring a “health history” list and keep it up to date. You might want to make a copy for each member of your family
  • Bring a CD/DVD/USB with a copy of your most recent chest CT scan if possible (if done at another hospital)
  • Talk about how you feel, both physically and emotionally
  • Ask your doctor to explain if you do not understand something
  • Asking your doctor to draw a picture may help
  • Ask for copies of your tests to review later
  • Ask for written instructions and/or take notes
  • Ask your doctor where you can find other materials that may help you
  • Ask your doctor about a referral to a regional ILD clinic

After your appointment:

  • Find out when / if you need a follow-up appointment
  • If so, ask what information you will need to bring
  • If you need tests, schedule an appointment right away
  • Take your medication as prescribed
  • Call your doctor if your IPF symptoms get worse, or if you have a problem with your medication
  • If you have had tests, follow up for your results
  • If your doctor said you should see another specialist, make an appointment
  • If you have questions or have forgotten instructions, call the doctor’s office for the information you need

Talking About Pain

  • Mention where you are and how much pain you are in, using a scale of 1-­‐10
  • Include what makes it better or worse, give a description (tingly, achy, dull etc.), medications used and the impact it has on your daily functioning
  • Decide on your pain management goals
  • You and your doctor need to be working towards the same goals

Talking About Tests

  • Discuss the reason for the test, its method, its accuracy, preparation, pain involved, when to expect results and insurance coverage
  • Test results are written in medical language that can be hard to understand
  • Ask your doctor to explain the wording in simple terms until you will understand

Talking About Medication

  • Know the medication’s purpose, how to take it, it’s adverse effects, it’s interactions with other medications, when it should take effect
  • To minimize errors and complications, it is a good idea to have a doctor or pharmacist review all of your prescriptions, even specialty medications and natural supplements

Talking About Alternative & Complementary Therapies

  • Do your research before speaking to your doctor
  • Make sure to discuss benefits and risks to find a treatment that works for you
  • Obtain a prescription or letter of medical necessity, if possible, because insurance companies sometimes cover alternative therapies

Other important questions to ask:

  • What is the test for?
  • When will I get the results?
  • How many times have you done this procedure?
  • Why do I need this treatment?
  • Are there any alternatives?
  • What are the possible complications?
  • Which hospital is best for my needs?
  • How do you spell the name of that medication?
  • Are there any side effects?
  • Will this medicine interact with medicines that I’m already taking?