Preparing to See a Healthcare Provider

If you are meeting with a healthcare provider for the first time:

  • Take a copy of your medical records with you, or arrange for a copy of your medical records to be sent to the healthcare provider. If you cannot do this, write a short note describing the health problems you have had, when they happened, and the name of the healthcare provider(s) who took care of you.
  • Bring all of the medications you are currently taking. This includes both prescribed and over- the- counter medications.
  • Write a list of all the healthcare providers you are currently seeing and why you see them. Identify which healthcare provider is your primary care provider.
  • Make a list of the symptoms you are experiencing and what is bothering you the most. Write down when these problems begin (began) and what you have done (if anything) to relieve them.

Successful Communication with your Healthcare Providers

Of course it is important that you clearly understand the program you and your health care team develop for treating your lung condition. When talking with your healthcare provider, nurse or health educator, remember:
  • You are the most important member of your health care team. In order to get the most benefit from your treatment plan, you must understand all instructions and feel comfortable following them. Be sure you know exactly what you need to do, when you need to do it, how often, and for how long.

    Some patients have difficulty judging when they need immediate medical care. As a result patients delay seeking care, which can lead to the need for more expensive and complicated medical care. Be sure to ask your healthcare provider for directions as to when you should seek emergency care without delay.

  • Help develop your treatment plan. After all, you are the one who will benefit the most from following the prescribed plan. If your healthcare team prescribes something you feel you cannot carry out – this will give you and your healthcare team the opportunity to explore treatment plan alternatives that would help you to be successful. You are the one who will suffer most if you can’t carry out the treatment plan or don’t understand the plan.
  • Ask questions about your lung condition and its treatment. Don’t be shy – when it comes to your health there are no silly questions. Also, it is your right and responsibility to know what is happening to your body.

Questions to Ask About Medications

The different lung condition medications your healthcare provider can prescribe are described below. Your healthcare provider will choose medicines that best suit your needs and are likely to be covered by your medical insurance policy.

To get the most out of your prescribed treatment plan, it helps to learn the answers to the following questions. You will find most of this information on the education sheets or stickers that come from the pharmacy with your medication.

  • What is the name, spelling, and correct way to say the name of the medication? *
  • What does the medication do?
  • How much medicine should I take each time? *
  • How often and at what times of the day or night should I take the medication? *
  • How long does it take for the medication to begin working?
  • How long will the medication work before I need another dose?
  • What should I do if the medication doesn’t seem to work?
  • Are there other medications, foods, beverages, or activities that I should avoid when taking the medication?
  • What are the possible side effects of the medication?
  • What can be done to lessen the side effects?
  • How should the medication be stored?
  • How often can I have the prescription refilled?
  • What should I do if I forget to take a dose of the medication – wait until the next dose, take an extra dose, or double up at the next regularly scheduled time?
* In the event of an emergency, you will also want to be able to give this information to emergency room staff.

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