As a patient, advocacy is essential to managing your health and wellbeing. Navigating the healthcare system can be extremely difficult, especially when you are trying to make sure your voice is heard. The good news is that there are several ways you can speak up and advocate for yourself so that you get the care you need and deserve. In this post, we will discuss five ways to become an effective advocate for your health.
Step 1: Research Your Condition
When it comes to advocating for yourself in healthcare, knowledge is power. When you have been given information about your diagnosis or condition, take some time to research what it is and make sure you understand what your treatment options are. This will help you prepare for conversations with healthcare providers so that they understand what you are looking for. If there are any treatments or medications that you want to pursue but haven’t been offered, this information can help you discuss options when speaking to your provider.
Step 2: Speak Up About Your Needs
Many patients can feel intimidated when with the thought of being direct with your provider, but you do not have to feel afraid when you need to discuss your needs. Don’t be afraid to ask questions or voice concerns; remember that it is ultimately up to you to ensure that all of your questions have been answered and all of your needs have been addressed by the healthcare team. Now, I understand it may be difficult at first to feel comfortable with this, but overtime and with practice, it will become easier. If it makes you too uncomfortable, figure out if you can take someone with you to your appointments who can speak up on your behalf.
Step 3: Stay Organized
It’s important to keep track of all medical paperwork, test results, diagnoses, supplements and prescriptions. This is exactly why I created my health journal (click on the words health journal to purchase yours).This way, if there are any changes in medication dosage or treatments being recommended by the doctor, this will make it easier to review these records quickly.
Step 4: Don’t Be Afraid to Ask For Referrals/Second Opinions
If at any point during treatment you feel like something isn’t quite right or if a particular provider isn’t listening to what you need; don’t hesitate to ask for a referral or second opinion from another specialist who may better serve your needs better. Sometimes just getting another perspective on things can give us peace of mind knowing our health considerations are being taken into consideration.
Step 5: Find Support Groups/Resources
There are many support groups available online, BUT it’s important to focus on groups that uplift you (hint hint, I’m working on such a group, but more on that later). I have also created my thyroid guide (click on the words thyroid guide to purchase yours)to help manage your condition as well. Additionally, you can tune into the Thyroid Warrior Podcast (click on the words Thyroid Warrior Podcast to listen). I will be doing season based podcasting now, so if you have topics you’d like to hear discussed, let me know!
Check out some of these sites for reputable information on thyroid health as well: