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Spotlight: Friends Life Care

‘So, do you have any questions for me?’

Hearing this from a healthcare provider at the end of an appointment can often cause your mind to either race or go blank. Surely, you have questions, but sometimes they come to you just as the provider walks out the door.

Communicating with healthcare providers can be difficult; our current healthcare system offers limited time and opportunity for both doctor and patient to connect in a meaningful way. According to a study conducted by the University of Southampton and published in the American Journal of Medicine, ineffective communication can actually create anger and distress, physiological conditions that could worsen illness.

Preparing yourself, or helping a loved one, to gather, share, and receive the right information, is key to making the most out of any visit to a doctor. Here are some tips on being an effective communicator in any healthcare situation:

Think ahead. Before your appointment, take time to consider what concerns you have. If you have any symptoms, think of as many details as you can to share with your provider. 

Bring notes to remind yourself of the most important things to discuss. Let your provider know at the start of your visit that you’ve prepared some questions. This can help them to tailor your appointment to meet your needs.

Request that they explain things in plain language and, at the end of the visit, be sure to state back what you heard, to confirm your understanding.

Be realistic about the time constraints. If you need more time, ask your doctor how you can arrange to have a longer conversation.

Empowering yourself with good communication skills can have positive results in healthcare outcomes and patient satisfaction.

 Contributor: Lauren Schwabish, M.S., CCC-SLP, Neuro Speech Services, PLLC neurospeechservices.com

Friends Life Care is located at 531 Plymouth Road, Suite 500, Plymouth Meeting.

Contact us for more info: www.friendslifecare.org or 215-628-8964.

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