There's no question that we want the best for ourselves and our loved ones and this often is the driving force that pushes us to be our own best advocates. But when it comes to healthcare, it can feel like we as patients are not in the driver's seat and it can be difficult to figure out what our own role is. In fact, if you're like many, you're probably used to answering your doctor's questions rather than asking your own, but it doesn't have to be this way.
Got questions about a procedure? Ask the doctorWhen it comes to medical treatments and procedures, it's even more important to ask questions to ensure you understand why it's being recommended, what the expected outcome is. Here are some questions to ask your doctor about pending procedures to ensure you are on the same page:
- Why should I do it? It’s vital to know why a physician has ordered a serious operation. Asking your doctor to explain his/her recommendation may either calm you down or freak you out, but at least you will know.
- What other options do I have? Sometimes there is more than one way to treat an issue. Finding out all the possibilities will allow you to make the most informed decision.
- What’s next? If the doctor’s suggestion for a procedure is simply the first step in a series of long, arduous hospital visits, you may want to think twice. For example, there is a line of thought that suggests early diagnosis of prostate cancer may not always be helpful to men, because, in some cases, detectable tumors never become serious enough to impact you negatively. In these cases, the physical and mental stress of subsequent tests and surgeries to remove the non-cancerous tumor greatly trump the benefits.
- What if I do it? Every medical procedure, no matter how safe it seems, can have dangerous complications. Having knowledge of these hazards and their effects on the health of an elderly person will guide you in your decision.
- What if I don’t do it? There’s always a risk in procrastination, so ask the doctor what could happen if you don’t go through with the test or procedure.