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Five Questions to Ask Your Doctor

Posted on 03/30/2016

After you’ve had the conversation with your loved ones, the next step is talking to your doctor or provider about your wishes. Don’t wait for a medical crisis; talking with your healthcare team early and often will make it easier to make medical decisions when the time comes.

When speaking to a physician sometimes it’s difficult to understand what’s being explained to you. Don’t be afraid to ask a lot of questions or ask your provider to reframe it for you — “I don’t understand—can you explain it in a different way?”

To help guide you, here are the top five questions derived from our How To Talk To Your Doctor Kit to help break down the communication barrier between you and your physician so you can fully understand how your condition impacts your end-of-life care wishes and future plans.

Doctor and Patient with chart

1. “Can you tell me what I can expect from this illness? What is my life likely to look like 6 months from now, 1 year from now, and 5 years from now?”

Chart and patient2. “Would you write this down for me so I can be clear when I share this information with my loved ones?”

doctor and nurse3. “What are some possible big changes in my health that my family and I should be prepared for?”

family with chart

4. “What can I expect to improve (or not improve) if I choose this course of treatment, or another course of treatment?” “What can I expect if I decide to do nothing?”

Doc checking for fever5. Make sure to ask your doctor or health care team to document your discussion, and your wishes, in your medical record.

Remember you don’t have to decide everything right away. You can tell your doctor , “I’d like to talk this over with a friend—can we have another conversation in a couple of weeks?”

These tips and questions are from our How To Talk To Your Doctor Kit. Download it here.

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