Entering into the healthcare system can be a bit like diving into shark infested waters. This may sound a bit overly dramatic, however, forewarned is forearmed. Following are six common healthcare pitfalls and how to handle them.
1. Be aware of the Health Care Provider’s (HCP) communication style. This includes words, body language, posture and attitude. If the words are foreign to you or the information is unclear, ask for a more simple explanation. Keep asking until you are satisfied. This is your body and your health.
2. You are entitled to be treated with respect and your modesty and dignity must be honored. If you are not satisfied with the privacy or modesty provided, let them know. Remember that no one should ever touch you for any reason unless they ask permission and explain why it is necessary. It is always your right to refuse any exam or treatment.
3. If you are nervous or upset, too much information can be overwhelming. Not enough information may be equally as daunting. You need adequate information, conveyed in language you can understand to make your best decisions. It is always a good idea to take notes or have someone with you.
4. When you are in a fearful or nervous state, you are more highly susceptible to what you are hearing. For example, being asked to have routine cancer screenings can be anxiety inducing. A better way for you to look at this is that these screenings help you keep in mind your current state of wellness. It is a slightly different point of view, however, it can be a huge boost in your overall sense of wellbeing.
5. Reclaim you power. It is normal and understandable to be nervous and intimidated when going to the doctor or for some type of medical care. Remember that it your body and you are the boss of it. A huge power shift occurs when you are half dressed and lying on an exam table. Ask that any explanation or discussion of further care be done when you are dressed and face to face.
6. Speak up! These people work for you.