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PEP Talk

9 Pointers for Being a Good Patient

Adapted from a Diabetes Health article

Time with the doctor is limited and fleeting.  Get the most out of your child's next visit by following these nine helpful pointers.  By setting an example now, your child will also learn how to become a good adult patient in the future.

1.  Be on time, or better yet, be early.  Respect the time of the doctor and staff.  After all, when it is your turn, you want the doctor to give you his or her full attention, not cut out of the appointment early or arrive late.

2.  Be prepared.  Bring your child's medications, paperwork, insurance card, payment and whatever else the visit requires.  Also, bring a list of questions to address with the doctor during the appointment.  Doing these things saves time and effort that can be better spent addressing your child's specific medical needs.

3.  Be responsible.  If you get white coat syndrome (meaning that doctor appointments make you nervous and scattered), take charge by writing down what the doctor says or asking your spouse to accompany you to serve as a second listener.  Some doctors will even allow you to use a voice recorder.  (There's probably an app for that!)

4.  Be honest.  This is especially relevant for teenagers, who might not be checking blood sugars often enough or who might be experimenting with alcohol.  Teach your child to speak up so that his or her care is never compromised.  The doctor can offer suggestions on how to make positive changes.

5.  Be vocal.  If you are uncertain about how to manage a certain part of this disease, speak up.  If you have heard about a new diabetes treatment, ask about it.  If your child is experiencing bothersome side effects from a medication, tell the doctor.

6.  Be brave.  Talk about any and all problems...even if they might be embarassing to you or your child.  Doctors have heard and seen it all.

7.  Be confident.  You are in charge of your child's diabetes management.  The doctor serves as a coach.  If you've educated yourself, be confident enough to challenge the doctor's opinion in a respectful manner.  Your tenacity will teach your child to grow into a self-assured adult.  

8.  Be active.  If you are dissatisfied with the care you are receiving, address your concerns with your doctor or find another doctor.  If you leave the appointments feeling neglected, underappreciated or discouraged, make changes to create a more positive medical care experience.

9.  Be thankful.  Many of us have had negative experiences with doctors, but there are some great doctors out there.  When you find one, be thankful and verbalize that gratitude.  Also, do not neglect the staff who support the doctor.  Smile, be polite and teach your child to say "please" and "thank you."  A positive doctor-patient-parent relationship is crucial to excellent diabetes management.

Don't allow your child's care to be compromised.  These helpful tips will guide you toward better doctor visits.


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