Talking to your Doctoradmin2019-04-05T02:06:16+00:00
HOW TO TALK TO YOUR DOCTOR IN CANADA
Talking to your Doctor Quiz
Check your answers below.
1. Easy Question:
How much time does a doctor has per one patient?
a) as long as the patient needs b) 30 minutes c) 15 minutes
2. Easy Question:
It is okay to bring a written list of symptoms/complaints to show your doctor.
a) True b) False
3. More Difficult:
‘What are the treatment options?’ and ‘How effective is each treatment?’
a) are both good questions to ask your doctor b) are not necessary to ask your doctor
4. More Difficult:
Doing your own research online and asking for a second opinion are
a) not necessary in Canada b) a very good idea in Canada
The most important question a patient can ask their doctor is:
a) ‘How much will the medication cost?’ b) ‘What is causing my health problem?’
Your doctor can and will recommend all possible treatments for your health problems including such alternative treatments as chellation therapy, acupuncture, nutritional therapy, herbal medicine, etc.
a) True b) False
Check your answers below.
How to Prepare for a Doctor’s Visit in Canada
Many new immigrants come to Canada because they know the Canadian health care system is better than the one in their first country. However, they often don’t know how to make the best use of this system. Doctors in Canada have very little time per one patient (15 minutes or even less), so here are the steps you need to take to make your visit successful:
1. Do your Homework
Write down everything you want your doctor to know.
2. Use your Dictionary
Translate any words you don’t know in English.
3. Bring the Paper to the Doctor’s Office
To save time, you can give the paper with your symptoms/complaints to the doctor to read – it is perfectly acceptable and some doctors appreciate it.
4. When your doctor tells you what to do, write it down in front of them
Say: “I’m sorry, I’m afraid I will forget. Can you repeat? I want to write it down.”
Before your Visit
1. Make notes about your pain/ problem:
when the pain started (a week ago, a month ago, a year ago, two days ago)
how strong it is (on the scale of 1 to 10 with 10 being the strongest)
what kind of pain it is (burning, sharp, dull, stabbing, shooting, severe, throbbing, cramping, numbness, tingling)
how long it lasts (seconds, minutes, hours, days and nights)
how often it comes (once a day, after every meal, every morning, all the time)
what makes your pain worse (when I bend down, after I eat fruit)
2. Describe other symptoms (tired, weak, dizzy, nauseated, sweating a lot, have blurry vision, can’t sleep normally, can’t pass urine normally, can’t breathe normally, etc.)
3. English names of any medication you’re taking (also the dosage and the frequency)
4. Any questions you want to ask your doctor, including:
The number one most important question to ask your doctor is: “What caused this condition? / What do you think is causing my problem?” You want to know the REASON WHY you got the problem and how to fix it. Unfortunately, doctors in Canada will often prescribe medication, such as painkillers, but will not give you advice on how to treat the root cause of the problem.
It’s a good idea to ask for TESTS to confirm your diagnosis (blood and urine tests, ultrasound, x-ray, MRI, CT scan, etc.) “What tests are you going to do?” and “How accurate are these tests diagnosing this problem?”
Another good questions is “What are the treatment options?” and “How effective is each treatment?”
Remember: in Canada, you can tell your doctor everything because he or she can NOT share it with your family. In some countries, the doctor will talk to the patient’s family but in Canada, it is prohibited – this is called patient’s confidentiality. Your information will be kept secret.
After your Visit
1. Read the list of side effects of the medication you’ve been prescribed and decide if you want to take it. Some medications have serious side effects, such as diarrhea, liver tumours, sleep problems, bone pain, hair loss, etc.)
2. If a diagnosis is serious, where can you go to get a second opinion? Find another doctor to confirm the diagnosis because mistakes happen even with doctors and hospitals!
3. Go online and do your own research – educate yourself on the causes of and possible treatments for the problem. Those Canadians who are well-educated do not automatically trust their doctors. They browse the web searching for all possible and alternative treatments for their illnesses. There are also many useful YouTube video lectures you could watch to educate yourself about various health issues.
4. Research ‘Alternative’ medicine options (also ‘traditional’ medicine / ‘holistic’ medicine). You can use these as complimentary / additional treatment options to what your doctor prescribed. Examples of such medicine would be: acupuncture, Chinese medicine, chellation therapy, Ayurveda, homeopathy, massage, naturopathy, nutritional medicine, chiropractic, osteopath, herbal medicine, mediation, Reiki, etc.