How to Prepare for Your Doctor Visit - New Mexico VA Health Care System
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New Mexico VA Health Care System

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How to Prepare for Your Doctor Visit

You can get ready for the next visit with your doctor by:

  1. Keeping a list of the questions that come to your mind. 
  2. Writing down things that are not normal like:     
    ▪ Pain       
    ▪ Dry Mouth       
    ▪ Dizzy Feeling       
    ▪ Feeling like you can't eat
     
  3. Write down and take the following with you: 
    Medications:
     
     
    Names of all the medicines that you are taking, include non-prescription drugs & medicines from other doctors (dentist, foot doctor, eye doctor, etc.). 
    How often you take them. 
    Questions you have about the medications you are taking. 
     
     Treatments:
     

     Be honest and tell your doctor how much you were able to follow the advice about medicine, diet, exercise or other cares. 
     If you did not follow some of my doctor’s advice tell your doctor why; that way the doctor knows to try other things to improve your health.
     
  4. Ask Your Doctor About: 
    Prescriptions:
     
    Are there any side effects?   
    How soon should your symptoms improve?   
     Are there any other things you need to know?   
      
     Tests:
     
     What will this test show?  
     How accurate is it?     
     Are there any risks/side effects?
     How soon will I know the results?    
     Do you need to do anything special before or after the test?   
      
     Treatment and Surgery:
     
      How will this help you (benefits)?
      Are there any dangers (risks)?    
      Are there any other questions you can ask your doctor?  
      If you need surgery, how long do you have to stay at the hospital?

You can and should:

  • Ask to have a statement explained again until it is clear to you
  • Ask if there is any written information or pamphlets about your problem.
  • Make sure that you have the name and phone number of a person you can call if you have a problem.
  • Ask questions so you understand the treatment.
  • Feel free to ask the doctor to use words that you know, not medical terms.
  • Have a family member or friend with you to help explain the treatment(s).
     
    Remember you have a responsibility to take part in your health care and a right to make choices about your treatment(s).