Make Sure You Understand

It is very important you understand what your doctor/care provider is saying.  The more you know about your health, the healthier you will be.  These tips will help you help your doctor/care provider put information in terms you can understand.

  • If you don’t understand a word or a concept, ask your doctor/care provider to explain it again (and again if you need to).  It can also help to have your doctor/care provider draw pictures (such as where a bone is broken)
  • Use the “teach back” method.  Say to your doctor/care provider, “I just want to make sure I have this right…” and then repeat what he or she has said in your own words
  • Ask your doctor/care provider to be as concrete as possible when giving you directions, like “When you say ‘rest’ does that mean stay in bed for a week or just not go to the gym?” Or, “When you say ‘take three pills a day’ what times should I take them?”
  • At the end of each visit, ask your doctor what are the most important things you should remember and then be sure to write them down