We all get the paperwork of 'your rights as a patient' but still feel that we are being too pushy sometimes regarding our care.The important thing to keep in mind is that as the patient you do have your rights to respect, dignity, and care. As the patient it is your right to choose your physician, seek out another physician if you are unsatisfied with your care or desire a second opinion, and weigh-in on your thoughts regarding treatment options.
Since you are seeking care, you deserve to be treated with the respect and dignity of having all questions answered regarding your care. If you do not understand something, you have the right to ask for clarification regarding the process, medication, tests, treatments, or surgery.
Tips on being your best advocate:
1. Write down your questions and be sure each is answered and that you understand the answers
2. There are some providers that allow you to tape their sessions regarding care so that you can review what was said after the appointment. If you'd like to ask that you can as well.
3. Bringing a supporter with you as an extra set of ears and someone to back you up or think of additional questions is always a plus.
4. Go into your appointments educated and with thoughts regarding your care. For example, if you know you are against something and are firm in that belief, be open and explain it to the provider so that everyone is on the same page. Similarly, if you know your preference on a treatment plan it should be discussed with the physician.
5. Request records for YOURSELF, not just if seeking another opinion. You have a right to your medical records and to ask questions about them.
6. Be open and honest with your provider. It is important that the doctor-patient relationship is built. You should be able to feel comfortable with them-not worried or intimidated.
In reality, healthcare is a team sport-and you're the star of the team because without you, there wouldn't be care to be given.