A Little More Each Day

One working mama learning to run & to maintain my 100+ pound weight loss!

Advocating for yourself in the healthcare system

on November 10, 2014

Beyond running and weight loss, we occasionally talk about general health topics in this little corner of the web, so I thought I’d take the chance the share a few tips for safely navigating the healthcare system.

As I spent Sunday in the ER, it's a topic fresh in my mind.

As I spent Sunday in the ER, it’s a topic fresh in my mind.


– Write everything down. This includes the key points in your history that they need to know and the instructions and explanations they give you. If you can bring someone with you to keep track of those things, even better. It’s amazingly easy to forget things in the stress of the moment.

– Be sure you see everyone wash their hands or use hand sanitizer before they touch you.  Don’t be afraid to speak up if you didn’t see it. Good healthcare providers won’t be offended by the question.

– Don’t be afraid to ask who someone is when they enter your room, especially if they don’t reintroduce themselves or introduce themselves at all. There are a lot of members of the healthcare team and it’s really easy to mix them up.

– Speaking of names, be sure they’re checking yours on your name band before they collect any labs or give any medications. It’s always okay to ask what the blood is being collected for or what the medicine is. Be sure to remind them of your allergies when they give any medicine.

– Ask if they can call any prescriptions directly into your pharmacy so they’re ready to pick up on the way home. This can be a huge time saver!

– Ask about side effects you can expect from the medications they prescribe. While I was picking up my Augmentin, I knew I should also pick up a probiotic while I was there.  Also be sure to ask about what the signs might be that your illness is worse and you need to return.

Finally, remember that they’re people too and doing the best they can to help you and so many other sick people. A smile and a thank you goes a long way. Advocating for yourself as a patient doesn’t have to be antagonistic.  It just means being smart and aware.

Here’s hoping we all have a healthy winter and don’t need these tips anytime soon!



4 responses to “Advocating for yourself in the healthcare system

  1. Kristin says:

    Oh no, I hope everything is okay!!! Great tips!! Thanks for sharing!! Have a lovely week!! XOXO

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