Your General Practitioner (GP) is often your go-to in looking after your health together with a range of other health professionals, such as your nurse, pharmacist or physiotherapist – known as your healthcare team. It’s vital to have good communication with your team to ensure you get the best quality of life and outcomes for managing your lung condition. However, with several members in your healthcare team, it can sometimes be difficult to know who the best person to talk to is, and what exactly to ask them.
It is easy to get flustered or confused when talking to your GP, especially if they use words or terms you are not familiar with. You may find it useful to write down your questions and concerns before your visit so you don’t forget to ask during your appointment. It can also be helpful to take a family member or friend who you trust along with you to your appointment. If you do not understand the information your GP is giving you, don’t be afraid to ask questions or ask them to explain the information again. Having a consistent health professional whom you trust and who knows you and your condition can ease some of the anxiety around your appointments.
Taking notes of the signs and symptoms you are experiencing and taking this along to your appointment will enable your treatment plan or COPD Action Plan to be altered and personalised to your needs.
Being prepared for your appointment will help you feel more in control and able to learn more about your condition, treatment and management. To support this, below are some questions you might like to ask your doctor during your diagnosis and treatment journey:
- What tests will I need? What will they involve?
- What are the best treatment options for me and why?
- Will there be any side effects?
- Will I need medications? How long will I need to take them for? What will they do?
- How do I use this inhaler device?
- How long before I can resume normal activity? What sort of activity is safe?
- What are the signs and symptoms of a flare-up? What should I do and who should I contact?
- What support services are available in my area?
- How will my lung disease be monitored?
- Are there any clinical trials I can take part in?