If you’ve been diagnosed with a spinal cord injury, traumatic brain injury, or other neurological condition that affects your neuromuscular function, then you may be overwhelmed. After all, doctors are going to toss around big terms that you’ve never heard, and many may even suggest that there’s nothing you can do about your situation. Fortunately, you often have more options than you think, but you have to stand up to and with the professionals to ensure that your voice is heard and your needs are met. Today, The Mind, Body & Spirit Center shares tips on how you can be your best ally when facing any type of health situation.
Keep accurate records and submit them on time.
While most doctors can communicate with each other, it is ultimately up to you to maintain accurate health records. The best way to do this so that you can get them to each provider before your appointments is to ask for copies at the time of service. Ideally, you’ll have PDF files (these are easier to share than Microsoft Office files), and you can easily turn just about any other type of file into a PDF with drag-and-drop software.
Educate yourself on your condition.
Every medical condition has certain features that make it different from everything else. Unfortunately, the internet is full of misinformation, and that’s the last thing you need now. The National Institute On Aging recommends the National Institute Of Health and the Centers for Disease Control if you’re looking for reliable information. You can also ask your doctor for resources. The more you know, the more proactive in your recovery and care.
Get to know your healthcare provider.
There is a huge benefit to getting to know your provider and learning to trust their opinion. This doesn’t mean that you trust blindly, but if you’re seeing an expert in a specific condition, it’s typically best to listen to their advice, at least at the beginning of treatment. You also have to let them get to know you by being honest about your symptoms and what, if anything, outside of their advice, you do during your recovery.
Doctors are people, too, and they can make mistakes, even if they have decades of experience with your condition. Be assertive, and if something feels “off,” don’t be shy about probing your provider. The Society To Improve Diagnosis In Medicine says that it’s best to present your symptoms with facts instead of emotion and, most importantly, speak up.
Consider your options.
If you feel as though assisted living might be the best option for you, take some time to research the facilities in your area. Don’t just check the prices; also check the reviews and actually tour the facilities you’re considering. Also, don’t be afraid to ask tough questions. It might be a good idea to bring a list of questions with you so that you don’t miss anything. Remember, you deserve the very best!
Being an advocate for your own health means more than just talking to your healthcare providers when you think there’s a problem. It also means getting ahead of issues by visiting your doctor for scheduled exams and doing other things that are a benefit to your health, such as guided exercise and physical therapy, staying mentally well, and eating healthy foods. You should also prioritize self-care, even if that just means calling a friend or going to bed early so you can get at least seven hours of sleep each night.
Speaking up for yourself is the best way to improve both your mental and physical health. Remember, you know your body better than anyone, and you know if something’s not right. While you should trust and listen to the experts, remember that doctors are human, too, and they may not fully understand the severity of your symptoms. The best way to be proactive and advocate for your own health is to keep records (PDFs are ideal) and to forge a trusting relationship with those who provide your care.
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