What Patients Really Deserve From Their Healthcare

When you visit a doctor, you expect respect and care. And of course, most medical practices offer just that! But sometimes it can be easy for a patient to fall by the wayside, and to get less than they deserve when being seen by a professional. Knowing that could happen to you makes seeing a doctor or nurse so much scarier. 

It’s why so many people put off seeking healthcare when they most need it. They don’t know what to expect, and they have no idea what they have a right to when they see a doctor. And that’s something we want to talk about more. Recovering after surgery, or visiting to talk about a health scare, or going through multi stage treatment, are all incredibly worrying moments in our lives. You need to know what you deserve. 

So check out the points below and keep them in mind. Booking a doctor’s appointment or heading into hospital is far less intimidating when you know how to brave a potential medical malpractice case. In most cases things won’t go that far, but the more you know, the better off you’ll be. 

The Satisfaction of Listening

The most frustrating thing about seeing a medical professional is when no one listens. You know your own body, and that means you know when something is wrong with it! However, many doctors and nurses can simply push aside patient worries for professional experience, and send us home with far less advice than what we went in for. 

It’s a good idea to research the doctor’s office ahead of time to get a feel for their patient care practices. Doctor reviews by patients can be very revealing and give you a good understanding of what to expect. If the patient feels like the doctor or staff did not listen well or address their concerns, they will certainly spell that out in their review.

Indeed, in any and all patient concern surveys, not feeling listened to always lands right at the top. It’s a real problem. People can be turned away when they’re in need of help. Sometimes it’s difficult to get healthcare services to truly see that.

Of course, many doctors have little time on their hands to assess all patients. Transition in nursing shifts can be problematic, too, as the new staff may not be brought up to speed properly to adequately address your concern. However, it may impact whether you head to the clinic or hospital in the future. Finding a hospital that prioritizes patients and has quality shift management practices in place can make a world of difference. 

In situations like these, it’s best to try and stand your ground. You know something is wrong. It’s often advantageous to ask a medic to note down how you’re feeling on your record. Ask what may be causing it. Ask if they have any recommendations. It takes a bit of confidence to try this, but if an attending physician is refusing to listen, sometimes you need to be more vocal. 

What Patients Really Deserve From Their Healthcare

A Chance to Form a Trusting Connection

Feeling cared about when you’re in a diagnosis room is a great first step. It means you’re much more likely to form a good connection with whatever healthcare professional you’re seeing. If someone treats you with respect and is able to see your side of things, you’re going to come back time and time again. That’s very good for business in private practice! 

So, what kind of doctor would you trust the most? Someone who listens, of course. But what else about them would set you at ease? If they’re regularly looking in on you, or send nurses to do so? 

Also, would you prefer it for a doctor to clearly know your health history when you come back in to see them? Of course! Sure they’ll need to check a few things over, but this kind of familiarity helps to put you at ease over who you’re dealing with. 

A connection can be formed when both parties are willing to work with the other. You may have a short time during an appointment, but a good rapport can still happen in 10 or so minutes! 

Plenty of Information Over What You’re Experiencing

Whenever you’re admitted into hospital for something, or you’ve received a diagnosis you’re not quite sure about, it’s up to the medic you’re seeing to explain things. And they should be able to do so in a way you’re able to fully understand. You’re perfectly allowed to ask for another explanation or for someone to sit down and go through things with you. You can’t help yourself if you don’t understand what’s going on! 

You can always get some advice in plain and simple terms. Even if a doc has some bad news to deliver. Whatever it is they need to tell you, they need to be honest. They should make sure you know exactly what’s going on. So the next time you’re in a medical room and things keep whirling by without stopping for a word, you can get up and ask for some information. 

A Focused Amount of Aftercare

Being in hospital is one thing, but the day of your discharge you should have a solid aftercare plan you can easily follow. For some patients this means simply being resting and not aggravating stitches. For other, there may be more involved. Some patients may even need care services to attend them now they’re no longer in a hospital bed. 

If that happens to be the case, you’ll know long before you actually leave the hospital. Of course, you can turn down aftercare services if you’ve got a family that’s willing to help. But, it’s worth hearing about the recommendations. Similarly, any and all care centers should be able to provide necessary equipment for aftercare duties as well. 

For example, if you come in to be treated for blood pressure issues, or you’ve had a surgical procedure that could lead to clotting, handing out compression socks should be part of the plan. Companies like Uniform Advantage sells compression socks, meaning they’re not hard to get hold of, and thus should be a natural part of your aftercare. Always talk to the hospital about the plan, and ask for an in depth breakdown if you haven’t already received one. 

Appointments When You Need Them

You need to be seen by a doctor whenever you’re feeling unwell or are presenting with new symptoms. However, centers up and down the country often struggle to fit patients in on a timely schedule! It’s why so many waiting lists are years long and why you often have to wait two or three months before getting another appointment. 

This is often not the fault of the medical profession itself; there are fewer resources than ever to go round, but the frustration element still remains. If you really need to see a doctor, call around medical centers in your area and see who has an opening for you. 

However, with the advent of things like telemedicine, it’s becoming easier and easier to fit patients into a packed schedule. If a doctor or nurse can simply call you on Zoom and have a face to face meeting in your own home, it cuts down on the heavy logistical needs of providing good healthcare. No traveling and no sittting in a waiting room. You can still have an exam over the screen. 

Complete Transparency on the Professional’s Part

This is another point about being honest, but it bears repeating. A doctor who isn’t transparent about what’s going on with your health is someone you’re going to struggle to form a connection with. If you are not aware of what’s going on, and you’re having more tests and examinations without finding out the reason behind them, it’s time to take charge! 

Call the medical center ask for your results. Ask for professional opinions and chase down the thinking behind why you’re all over the place. You need to know what’s happening; only then can you decide what you want to do next, and whether or not it’s time to go for a second opinion. 

Be polite and courteous during phone calls or appointments like these, but make sure the doctor or nurse you’re talking to has something to say about your experiences. These professionals are often rushed may simply forget to set a recap appointment for you! 

What to Keep in Mind

Patients have a lot more rights than you might think! And whether you’re a medical professional or you’re seeking diagnosis and treatment yourself, it’s best to do your research. 

Some patients have more needs than others, and being able to address these different levels is a skill that takes time and practice. But when you’re on the other side of the doctor’s chair, you should expect the best from the person treating you. 

Seeking out healthcare isn’t a bad thing, even when you’re scared about what you may hear. The more you know about your own health, and the insights you get into what you can do to improve that, are invaluable in the modern era. Don’t let panic get in the way. Know what you deserve, and make sure you’re working with someone you truly trust. 

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Barb Webb. Founder and Editor of Rural Mom, is an the author of "Getting Laid" and "Getting Baked". A sustainable living expert nesting in Appalachian Kentucky, when she’s not chasing chickens around the farm or engaging in mock Jedi battles, she’s making tea and writing about country living and artisan culture.
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