Doctoring and healthcare services are those that you depend on not only for your health, but maybe even your life or the life of a loved one. Here are four patient-centered questions that you can ask to make sure your voice is heard, and to get a good understanding of answers that are important in your decision making processes. It has the added benefit of you assessing your own desires, willingness to adhere to changes, what is important, and how your future changes might look if you choose certain things.
These patient-focused questions will help you to get a deeper understanding of what to expect and what you can do. And, you will be sharing what you want and are concerned about with your healthcare provider.
First: “Given my personal characteristics, conditions, and preferences, what should I expect will happen to me?” This question probes into the benefits and harms of preventive, diagnostic, therapeutic, insurance-funded interventions (or those denied) to underpin decision making and highling outcomes that matter to people
Second: “What are my options and what might the benefits and harms of those options be?” This lets the personal preferences you have shared, and helps you address your own needs and outcomes that you care about. These could include things like personal autonomy in decision making, survival, symptoms, and how will your quality of life be affected.
Third: “What can I do to improve the outcomes that are most important to me?” This lets your own individual differences, barriers, and preferences be considered when implementing health behavior changes and choices.
Fourth: “How can you and the intervention (i.e., diet changes, exercise, surgery, medications) improve my chances of achieving the best outcomes?” This question will help you to understand what the physician or provider can do; what the healthcare system itself can help with (like referrals to physical therapy or counseling, for example), resources available, and what you are willing to choose and do. Sometimes paying for services is a barrier.
In short, you will be asking yourself some deep questions, and asking your providers to help you navigate the anticipated changes, too.
© Lizzie Bennett is an Advanced Holistic Nurse, Board Certified, RN, Whole Health thought leader, and Ordained Minister of some years. She is a Nurse Health Coach facilitator, and owns Three Moons Medicine™ as her private counselling and coaching practice, a blog, educational forum, Facebook page, and outreach to support others on their journey.
RNHA™ and Registered Nurse Health Advocate™ are intellectual property and service marks belonging to Lizzie Bennett, owner of Three Moons Medicine™
P.S. Maybe you want to take the deep dive and spend a whole year learning not only how to heal yourself, but help others, too? Be sure to check out my school and get information on becoming a health coach!