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Managing medical consultations well

Good communication with your doctor is the most important thing for the best possible therapy. You can contribute a considerable amount yourself to shaping the consultations in your doctor’s practice constructively. You can find practical tips here.

Before the consultation

Good preparation does not only help you, but also helps your doctor to understand the situation better.

  • Think about which symptoms you have, how long they have been going on and whether there are any special circumstances in which the symptoms are worse.
  • Which treatments are currently taking place? Are there any pre-existing conditions or allergies? Make a list of your current medications, regardless of whether they require a prescription or not. Vitamin products are also medications.

Note down the questions you want to ask your doctor. Start your list with the most urgent matters, as there is only limited time available at the appointment.

Think about whether you would like a family member or another person in a position of trust to accompany you. If you have trouble following a conversation for a longer period of time (for example, due to your illness or a therapy) or you do not yet have sufficient command of the local language, taking someone with you can be helpful.

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During the consultation

This list can help you to communicate all the important information during the consultation with your doctor and to put forward your questions.

Describe your symptoms as precisely as possible: Since when have you had the problems? How are they expressed? When are the problems more severe and when are they less?

Talk about your current treatments, existing illnesses, allergies and medications. The more your doctor knows about your health, the better he or she can help you.

If you have unhealthy habits such as smoking or excessive alcohol consumption, inform your doctor about these. Talk about feelings that you associate with your complaints and inform your doctor if you don’t want to go through with a therapy.

Make notes on your diagnosis and treatment options or take a person in a position of trust with you who can write these down.

Ask questions if you don’t understand something. Clear up any uncertainties and make sure that you correctly interpret the information that your doctor gives you.

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