For the rest of this month, we’ll be looking at treatment: preparing for it, understanding it, living with it, coping with it. And today we’ll be looking at why it is so crucial to establish firm, positive and open relationships with your doctors – and how to go about doing this!
The WHY-YOU-NEED-HAVE’s of a POSITIVE, EFFECTIVE & OPEN DOCTOR/PATIENT RELATIONSHIP:
- It will give you peace of mind and a stable platform of security
- Ditto for your family and supportive friends!
- Your right to receive ample time, care and attention from your doctors will be embraced, met and respected
- Being treated like an equal (and placed at the centre!) within your medical team will empower you!
And here are the HOW’s of setting up the very best relationship with your doctors:
- Tell them how you, as a unique individual, are viewing your specific situation
- Explain the ways in which you are choosing to deal with your situation
- Make sure they understand how much information you want to be given
- Tell them how hard you want to fight your cancer and to what medical lengths are you prepared to go
- You have a right to choose not to have medical treatment — or to stop the treatment you are already having
- Explain how you are feeling about your situation. Terrified? Numb? Hopeful? Downright peeved?
- Tell the how you are coping – or not coping, for that matter!
- Ask your doctor to be tolerant of the healthcare choices YOU are making
TALK, TELL, ASK, DESCRIBE, EXPLAIN, GESTICULATE, DRAW, MAKE NOTES, EMAIL, PHONE!
So what if you’ve already found yourself stuck in a patient-doctor relationship that makes you feel even more vulnerable and downright uncomfortable than you need to be? One option would be to try and ‘start over’ with your doctor by sitting down with them and explaining all of the above to them. (TIP: jot down the points you want to make on a piece of paper to take with you to the doctor.) The second option is to stand on your right to be referred to a different doctor. You are entitled to go back to your GP and ask for a referral!
Finally – your aim is:
- to get all the information you feel you need about your situation
- to be given time (and allow yourself time!) to digest, understand and respond to it
- make informed consent to treatment
- prepare yourself for treatment
- embark upon your treatment feeling fully confident that YOU have picked the very best course of action for YOU!