Advocating for yourself

Want to Manage Your Health Better? This is How to Advocate for Yourself

Monday 24th Jul 2023 |

In theory, going to the doctor with a problem should be straightforward. However, plenty of people experience frustration with this process since it can be confusing and slow. There are some aspects of the healthcare system that you can’t control, such as waiting lists, but there are also ways to speak up for yourself to avoid being left behind. Here’s how you can be a better advocate for yourself and your health.

Keep a List of Symptoms

If you find it difficult to remember every detail about your well-being, you will find it hugely beneficial to start taking notes for future reference. These will help you to stay familiar with your health and have something to show your doctor when you attend appointments. Here are some examples of what you should keep a note of:

  • Your sleep pattern, how many hours of sleep you usually get, how tired you tend to feel
  • Your exercise habits, how your body feels when exercising
  • Changes in appetite
  • Unfamiliar sensations in your body, such as aches, sharp pains, numbness, or tension
  • Any change in your body that causes you concern

If possible, write the date and time for each note so that your doctor can help you identify any possible patterns of your symptoms or at least keep track of the history more accurately.

Don’t Skip Appointments

Respect your doctor’s time and attend appointments. If you must cancel, do so with plenty of advance notice. Skipping or missing appointments can have a negative impact on your patient-doctor relationship and stop another person from getting the treatment or advice they need.

Find a Doctor You Trust

Sometimes you may meet a doctor that you find difficult to talk to. Perhaps you don’t feel listened to or understood. Asking for a new appointment with another doctor can help you feel more at ease when discussing your health. You can even book online appointment GP and speak to a doctor right away. This type of service is ideal for people who want quick health advice and who, for whatever reason, can’t attend a regular appointment. A trustworthy doctor will make it easier for you to communicate your needs more clearly.

Stay Abreast of Your Medication

Be vigilant about taking your medication properly and following the instructions. Pay attention to any side effects you may experience and take note of them so you can discuss them later with your doctor. If you feel that a medication is not working or that you no longer need it, talk to your doctor before making any changes. When it comes to how to remember to take pills, employing reminder apps or creating a visual medication chart can be valuable tools to help you stay consistent with your treatment plan.

Ask Questions

Asking questions and feeling confident enough to communicate your concerns articulately is one of the best ways to advocate for yourself. If you are unsure of anything, ask your doctor to clarify for you. There is no advantage to being in the dark about your own health.

Advocating for yourself can feel like a battle, especially if you find it difficult to disagree with someone. Although it is important to listen to healthcare professionals, you live in your body and are entitled to a second opinion if you feel that your concerns aren’t being properly addressed. It can be tough, but remember to put your health as a priority above politeness, and don’t let feeling awkward stop you from getting the healthcare you need.