Because the visit with your Asthma and Allergy Center doctor is the best time to learn about your asthma, you want to make sure you are prepared. By planning ahead and being prepared, you are less likely to forget your important questions.
Being able to talk with your Asthma and Allergy Center doctor is a big step in managing your asthma. Good communication allows you to take charge of your health and work with your Asthma & Allergy Center doctor to develop the best asthma treatment plan for you. It is your right to know about your health and to understand your asthma. Therefore, you should take responsibility for making sure that you and your Asthma & Allergy Center doctor work together as a team by:
Each office visit or telephone conversation should be a great learning experience. Please prepare for each encounter by writing down all the instructions and review them whenever you need to. You and your Asthma & Allergy Center doctor are a team, working together to better manage your asthma. It will be easier for you to do this if you keep in mind the following points when you talk with him/her:
Taking an active role in your health care means understanding and agreeing to the instructions that your Asthma & Allergy Center doctor or his/her staff gives you about your asthma treatment. Make sure you know exactly what you should do, how to do it, and for how long. In addition, know when to see your Asthma & Allergy Center doctor for routine visits, as well as for urgent ones. If your asthma symptoms are getting worse, do not wait for your next routine visit. Call your Asthma & Allergy Center doctor as soon as possible.
In order to benefit most from a treatment plan, you must understand it. You should know when and how to take your medications to help you manage your asthma more effectively. You should know what triggers your asthma and how to avoid those triggers when possible. Finally, you should work with your Asthma & Allergy Center doctor to develop an emergency plan and know when and how to use it. If you are unable to follow your asthma treatment plan, tell your Asthma & Allergy Center doctor; there may be another option that works for you.
As you prepare for your next office visit, here are a few points to help you and your Asthma & Allergy Center doctor develop that best treatment plan for you. Talk to your Asthma & Allergy Center doctor about:
Most office visits last only a few minutes and if you have prepared questions, you can make the most of this time. Your instructions for medications will be written for you. The nurse will go over these instructions to make sure you understand them correctly. Do not be shy about asking questions . Repeat the instructions on medication use back to your nurse. This ensures the nurse that her message was communicated clearly and the instructions are readily available to review at any time in the future.
At each follow-up visit, update your Asthma & Allergy Center doctor on the above information. Keeping your Asthma & Allergy Center doctor informed about changes in your health is part of being a team.
A telephone call can sometimes help avoid problems. Get all of your information gathered and organized before you phone the office. Take a peak flow meter measurement before you call and keep your phone line open if you are waiting for a return call. Asthma emergencies rarely occur without warning. Call early whenever possible! If your condition is getting worse, call the office. Do not wait for your symptoms to reach the crisis stage in the middle of the night. If problems should arise during the night, call the doctor on call. Do not wait until a trip to the emergency room is a must. Follow your written asthma crisis management plan.
Because the relationship with your Asthma & Allergy Center doctor is so important, an assertive approach is best when talking to him/her. Being assertive means being positive and polite while insisting on your right to understand your asthma and the treatment your doctor has planned for you. Here are some ideas to help you to be assertive when talking to your Asthma & Allergy Center doctor: