How to Advocate for yourself as a Patient:
I'm sure many of you feel
that you aren’t good at advocating for yourself.
🤷🏻♀️But how DO you do that as a patient?
🤷♀️What does that look like and what does it NOT look like?
🚫Advocating for yourself is NOT doing your Google research and demanding to a doctor that they comply with your recommendations.
🚫It is not being rude to office staff if you aren’t happy.
🚫It is not treating medical therapies and prescriptions like a menu at a restaurant, expecting to pick whatever you’re in the mood for.
✅Advocating for yourself IS asking questions.
✅It is asking the medical professional to re-explain something if you don't fully understand it the first time.
✅It is saying “These are my therapy/life/treatment goals and priorities, what treatment fits best in line with those?”
✅It is saying “this is what I’ve tried and it isn’t working for me because of x, y, and z. What other suggestions do you have for me?”
✅It is saying “When I was looking into ____, I came across this possibility, what do you think about it? Do you have any experience with it?”
✅It is saying “I’m not comfortable with what is going on/happening to me: what are the risks of stopping, the benefit to continuing, or any alternatives?”
💭These directed questions show that you are a thoughtful patient.
🧠They show that you are invested in making yourself better from what ails you, trying to be comprehensive and complete in understanding what could help or prevent.
👩🏻⚕️They show that you are respectfully asking advice from a trained professional. Whether at the end of the conversation you agree or like what they had to say, is another story. But you know that you did your best and asked the right questions.
👍🏻Advocating for yourself, above all, is being RESPONSIBLE for your health by educating yourself from reliable sources. Responsibility is a hard one these days, living ingrained within a blame- culture. But it will always be crucial to optimize your health choices and overall happiness as a patient.
And it’s ok to find a new doctor if you aren’t feeling respected or listened to during your consultations. That’s a responsible choice. And it’s ok.