There are effective strategies you can put in place to help prepare for your COPD doctor appointments to ensure you feel comfortable and confident, and make the most out of them.
Regular checkups with your healthcare team, even when you’re feeling well, are important to help you manage your condition and live well with COPD. These checkups are a great opportunity to discuss your symptoms and any recent flare-ups. Talk about your medications and any side effects you may be experiencing, and ask your doctor to check your inhaler technique. You can also use these appointments to chat about environmental and lifestyle factors that may be aggravating your COPD.
Being prepared and ready for these checkups will ensure you are getting the most out of your healthcare team’s expertise and advice. Our top 5 tips for your COPD doctor appointments are:
1. Keep a diary
Start a symptom diary and make entries each day, taking note of any flare-ups and factors that could have caused this, like cleaning a dusty room. Take your symptom diary to your appointment will help your healthcare team understand what may trigger your flare-ups. Together, you can create a tailored action plan to help you live well with COPD.
2. Write down your questions
Use your symptom diary to jot down any questions or concerns to jog your memory during your appointment. You can list these questions and concerns in order of priority to ensure you cover the most important points. You might like to raise things like a side effect you’re experiencing, or how you can more effectively clear mucus from your airways.
3. Take notes
Be sure to ask questions during your appointments. Request for the doctor to write information in your symptom diary notebook, so you can easily refer to it when needed.
4. Ask, ask, ask
Don’t be afraid or embarrassed to ask your healthcare team more questions or tell them if you don’t understand something. This includes questions about the cost of an appointment or any information on medications and techniques to manage COPD. Remember, they are here to help you!
5. Take some support
Ask for the support of your family and friends. An extra pair of ears can be helpful to digest the recommendations of your healthcare team or provide a little extra reassurance. A strong support network makes all the difference.
Having a robust healthcare team to provide specialist care and expertise is crucial to effectively managing and living well with COPD. Alongside your doctor, your healthcare team may also include a respiratory nurse, pharmacist, physiotherapist, or dietician. It’s really important that you feel heard and supported by your healthcare team. Don’t be afraid to seek a second opinion if you feel like you’re not getting the care you deserve.
Find more information
Learn more about getting the most out of your COPD healthcare team and hear helpful tips on managing your condition from diagnosis through to long-term management. Download Lung Foundation Australia’s free resource, COPD The Basics. Our Hope in Every Breath e-newsletter also provides regular, helpful advice including useful tools and techniques to support your journey with COPD. Keep up to date by signing up here.