How much time have you given to thinking about what you want from your doctor and other healthcare professionals? I suspect too many of us are neither clear enough about what we want and need, nor assertive enough to get it.
How many of us bounce around from doctor to doctor, physio to chiropractor to massage therapist, in search of one whose wellbeing philosophy, approach and style align with ours and who can fix whatever ails us? Let’s face it, good health care practitioners are hard to find, but crucial to our wellbeing. What’s more, we need to find and build these relationships before we actually need them!
As we age, the focus naturally tends to shift from occasional intervention, to prevention and management. This shift implies a team. Who is on the team is determined by our philosophy around health and wellbeing and our particular physiology and medical conditions.
For example, our health care team may include a general practitioner, particular specialists, physiotherapist, chiropractor, acupuncturist, masseuse, as well as access to teams who undertake breast and other screening.
Given the history of the health care professions, I suspect most of us don’t think about them (especially those who are medically trained) as service providers. But they are and we are customers. This has two implications: first, we need to be clear about the service we want and expect from them and second, we need to ensure we go about getting it.
What follows is a checklist to help you get clear, decide what you’re prepared to invest in and take action:
Get really clear about what you need and want
- I know the nature of the health care professionals I want on my team e.g. doctor, physio
- I am clear on the kind of relationships I want to have with those on my team
- I’m confident those on my team have the networks to refer me to the best specialists when required
- I’m clear on my health philosophy, and can articulate this, so I ensure a match with the philosophy of those on my team e.g. prescription drugs versus nutrition or lifestyle interventions as a first port of call
- I’m satisfied that those on my team really listen and work with me to achieve the health and wellbeing outcomes I’m seeking
Decide how much you’re prepared to invest
- I’m clear on the amount of time and money I’m prepared to invest in my health and wellbeing
- I’ve decided on the frequency with which I choose to see various members of my health care team and have a reminder system in place so I don’t forget to make appointments
- I’m satisfied with the choices I’ve made about health insurance
- I have a means of actively keeping up to date with advancements in the science related to any particular health issues I have, and ageing in general, so I can be an informed consumer
- I have been deliberate in deciding how I will invest in my lifestyle to keep myself well and healthy and am actively seeing these commitments through
- Given the above, I am now clear on who on my current health care team needs to be added, dropped or swapped out
- I know who I will ask for recommendations for the health care professionals I am missing
- I know and have scheduled the conversations I need to be having with existing and new providers to ensure we have the kind of relationship I need and want
- I have a system in place to capture key information about all interactions I have with my team, and a means for sharing it with them, so they are able to play their part most effectively
- I am committed to taking action on the items above and have set myself a deadline for when I will complete various items
What deadline have you set for yourself to take action? Let us know!
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