It’s important for people with Medicare and their families to actively participate in their health and health care. Studies have shown that people who are more involved in their care are more satisfied. One possible reason is that they feel more in control. They understand their condition and make decisions that help them be healthier. Here are a few easy ways you can get more involved in your care:
Bring Your Medication List
Bring a list of all your medications, both prescription and over-the-counter, to your doctor visits. If you receive a new prescription, ask your doctor what it’s for. Ask when to take it, how to take it. Ask if there are any potential side effects. Keep your list updated. Tyr to fill all your prescriptions at the same place so that your pharmacist can check for drug interactions.
Ask Your Health Care Providers to Wash Their Hands
Watch whether your health care providers wash their hands before touching you. If you’re not sure, it’s okay to ask them. Hand washing is the single most important thing everyone can do to prevent the spread of infections.
Time is limited during medical appointments. You will feel less rushed if you prepare your questions before your appointment. If you have a chronic disease like heart failure or diabetes, ask your health care provider about any “red flags” that indicate your condition requires additional attention. Ask them what you can do to be healthier, such as changing the way you eat or being more physically active. The Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) has compiled multiple lists of important questions you can ask before, during and after your appointment:
- The 10 Questions You Should Know
- Questions to Ask Before Your Appointment
- Questions to Ask During Your Appointment
- Questions to Ask After Your Appointment
- Build Your Own List of Questions
Review Your Discharge Plan
When leaving the hospital or any care setting, ask your doctor for written discharge instructions. Review them with your doctor to make sure you understand them.
Join a Patient & Family Advisory Council
The Quality Improvement Organization (QIO) Program brings health care providers, patients and families, community partners and other stakeholders together to improve health care quality, access, value and equity for people with Medicare. The voices and stories of patients and families are a key part of this work. Sharing your experiences with providers and other health care partners provides a unique perspective they may never have considered. To join a Patient & Family Advisory Council near you, locate a Beneficiary & Family Centered Care- or Quality Innovation Network-Quality Improvement Organization in your area.