4 Simple Steps to Making the Most of Your Appointments
A new diagnosis of psoriasis, well, can be incredibly overwhelming. Patients may be feeling shocked, find temporary mental relief, or have difficulty processing it all - especially when it comes to what to do next.
A slew of appointments with a variety of clinicians typically follows your initial diagnosis as your treatment plan develops. It can be incredibly helpful to bring someone along with you to your appointments to be an additional set of eyes and ears; they can also take notes during your visit. Additionally, given limited time with each of your providers, it is important to prepare to make the most of the time you have with your team.
Bring a notepad
If possible, bring notes and prepared questions with you to your appointments. These will help you focus on your most important needs and not forget issues that have been bothering you since your last appointment. In advance of your appointments, try to write down:
- Questions you have
- How you have been feeling - physically and emotionally.
- Changes in your body
- Worries or concerns
- Symptoms and side effects
- Insurance and financial concerns that could impact medical decisions
Try to write down and ask your most important questions and concerns first, and be specific. This will help you make the most of your limited time with your doctors.
Bring your pillbox
You may want to bring all of your pill bottles with you to appointments. This allows you to review what medications you have been taking or if you have had any side effects you may want to discuss. Your dermatologist needs to know all of the medications you are taking, not just medications related to psoriasis treatment, to ensure that there are no interactions.
They may also want to review when and how to take medications. Alternatively, you can bring a list of medications, including over-the-counter meds such as ibuprofen, vitamins, and supplements.
Talk to support services
Reach out to the social worker. There may be financial assistance for transportation or other services available. If you receive rides through your insurance or paratransit, someone on-site may be able to help you arrange your rides.
It is important that you come to all of your scheduled appointments. These support services are in place to ease some logistical burdens.
Get contact information
There may be times in between appointments when you need to communicate with your health care providers. Ask your dermatologist or provider what to do if this happens. If your concerns aren’t urgent, but you don’t want to wait until the next scheduled appointment, ask to have a team member call you.
You may also be able to contact your doctor via e-mail, fax, or an online patient portal. Additionally, ask your doctor how you can reach him or her outside of office hours in case you have additional questions or in the case of emergency. If you think you may have a question they need to prepare for in advance of your next appointment it may be best to email or call them ahead of time.
Time with all of our health care providers is limited in the current health care setting, but when you are facing psoriasis or psoriatic arthritis diagnosis the time is even more valuable.
If you can thoughtfully prepare for your appointments you can take advantage of the time that you have. Following these four simple steps can help you feel prepared beforehand and ready to face your next steps.
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