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Consultation Tips

Get Healthy Stay Healthy

It's about helping you make informed decisions and choices so you can manage your own health.1 It's about asking the right questions and finding the right answers, which you can then put into action. Like recognizing the signs of stroke, caring for an aging parent, trying to cope with a serious illness or just being well prepared at your next doctor's visit.2

Ask questions!
Important questions you can ask at every visit are:
• What is my main problem?
• What do I need to do?
​​​​​​​• Why is it important for me to do this?
• Why do I need this treatment?
• Are there any alternatives?
​​​​​​​• What are the possible complications?
• What are the main side effects?
​​​​​​​• Will this medicine interact with medicines that I'm already taking?3

Medication safety tips at the clinic

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Your medical history
No one knows you better than yourself! - At your doctor's visit, be sure to discuss your medical history:
• Any symptoms you may be experiencing - such as headaches or nausea
​​​​​​​• Any medical conditions you've been diagnosed with - such as heart disease or arthritis
• Any surgical operations you have had4 - such as having your tonsils removed or a caesarean section (or “c-section”)
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Medicines you take
Tell your doctor about all the medicines you take. You need to mention:
• Medicines you take every day or just once in a while
​​​​​​​• Your experiences and enquires on the medicines you are taking
• If any, side effects you are experiencing
• Nonprescription (or over-the-counter [OTC]) medicines - such as pain relief products
• Prescription medicines, including samples of any prescription medicines you may have received from your doctor
• Vitamins, supplements, and herbal or natural remedies5
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Other important information
You are your best advocate! Be sure to share with your doctor if you:
• Use alcohol, cigarettes, other tobacco products, or substances such as marijuana6
• Have allergies
• Are pregnant, breastfeeding, or are trying to have a baby
• Have memory problems5
• Have trouble swallowing, seeing clearly, walking, or using your hands​​​​​​​​​​​​​​
References
  1. Committee on the Learning Health Care System in America; Institute of Medicine; Smith M, Saunders R, Stuckhardt L, et al., editors. Best Care at Lower Cost: The Path to Continuously Learning Health Care in America. Washington (DC): National Academies Press (US); 2013 May 10. 7, Engaging Patients, Families, and Communities. Available at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK207234/ . Accessed on 24 Aug 2021.
  2. Questions To Ask Your Doctor. Content last reviewed September 2018. AHRQ--Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality: Advancing Excellence in Health Care. Available at: https://www.ahrq.gov/patients-consumers/patient-involvement/ask-your-doctor/index.html. Accessed on 24 Aug 2021.
  3. The 10 Questions You Should Know. Content last reviewed September 2012. Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, Rockville, MD. Available at https://www.ahrq.gov/questions/10questions.html . Accessed on 24 Aug 2021.
  4. ​​​​​​​Talking with Your Doctor. How to Prepare for a Doctor's Appointment. Content reviewed: February 03, 2020. National Institute on Aging. U.S. Department of Health & Human Services. Available at: https://www.nia.nih.gov/health/how-prepare-doctors-appointment . Accessed on 24 Aug 2021.
    1. Your Medicine: Play It Safe (with pill card). Archive: Agency for Healthcare Research Quality. Available at: https://archive.ahrq.gov/consumer/safemeds/safemeds.htm#1Way. Accessed on 24 Aug 2021.
    2. The NHS's role in the public's health A report from the NHS Future Forum. Available at: https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/216423/dh_132114.pdf . Accessed on 24 Aug 2021.
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