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Saturday, February 1, 2014

Advice for People of their Healthcare Team

Written by: Cherie C. Binns RN BS MSCN  
 
10 Things I Advise People re: Their Healthcare Team

As an Independent Health Care Advocate, Gerontology and Multiple Sclerosis Nurse, I am often asked to help patients with chronic illness or complex needs to be heard and tended to appropriately on their Medical visits.   

My advice to most is as follows:

1.     Prioritize!  Make a list of all of the things that you see as unaddressed issues and identify the three that most impact your comfort and lifestyle.  If there are more than three issues you feel are urgent, make a second appointment or call ahead to get a longer appointment to address these.  Share this with another person who knows you well before you go to the appointment to get their input.

2.    Do not put something on the high priority list if you are not willing to make lifestyle changes to address these issues!

3.    Bring a list of all of the prescription medications you currently take including those that are only used as needed.  Be clear about how often and when you use the as needed prescriptions.
4.    Bring a list of all supplements you take, how much and when.  Some prescription medications are not compatible with some natural products (such as blood thinners and supplements with certain herbal components).

5.    Be honest about how much you smoke and drink in a day or week. 

6.    Move!  Even the most mobility impaired person can generally move something even if it’s only their eyes.  Spend a few minutes each day listening to music and tapping toes or fingers if that is all you can do.  Exercise is important for all of us…no matter what our state of Health.

7.    Hydrate!  Drink at least 6-8 glasses of water daily and remember that you have to drink an extra glass for each caffeine or alcohol containing beverage consumed.  If you have bladder issues…drink a glass all at once rather than sipping throughout the day.

8.    Do something every day that gives you joy or enhances your knowledge.  A mind that is constantly expanding does not age as quickly and becomes less susceptible to depression and cognitive decline.

9.    Ask for help if you need it.   Do not assume people know your needs or know what to do for you when they are with you.

10. If you don’t understand why you are being asked to do something or take a particular medication, do not leave the office until you do!   Ask questions.  Be an important part of your Health Care team by learning why and following directions and reporting problems related to the plan of care.

Remember, your Doctor or Nurse or PA or CNA is a Human being with problems and needs that they leave behind when you are with them.  Acknowledge that and know they are not superhuman and may not have all the answers but they probably will try to find the answers you need if you treat them with respect and care.

Cherie C. Binns RN BS MSCN  
01/14

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