MAKE THE MOST OF YOUR DOCTOR VISITS.
Open communication with your doctor is key.
Doctor visits are valuable, so try to make the most of each and every one. Your gastroenterologist (GI) is a resource, a reference, and likely the medical professional who’s most familiar with your specific situation.
As uncomfortable as discussing your ulcerative colitis (UC) may be, it’s important that you’re as open and honest as possible with your doctor. If your gastroenterologist (GI) isn’t asking questions that get to the impact ulcerative colitis is having on your life, you’ve got to volunteer the information. Communication with your GI is a two-way street. To guide you in the best possible direction, you’ve got to be forthcoming about all the ways ulcerative colitis symptoms have affected your life since your last visit.
Sometimes it may feel like your appointment just isn’t enough time to cover everything you’d like to discuss with your GI.
Did you know? 56% (n=170/301) of people living with UC in the UC Narrative survey said they wish they had more time with their GIs.*
*Based on the U.S. portion of the 2017 UC Narrative survey, created by Pfizer in collaboration with patients, providers, and patient organizations. Data on file.
As a matter of fact, the U.S. portion of the UC Narrative survey results also found that 45% (n=135/301) of patients living with UC regret not saying more during their appointments. That is why it’s important to prepare for your next doctor’s visit.
HERE ARE SOME SUGGESTIONS THAT MAY HELP
YOU MAXIMIZE YOUR TIME TOGETHER:
Don’t count on being able to remember everything in the few moments you have with your gastroenterologist. Write down all the questions you can think of ahead of time, and bring them with you to your next appointment.
Share your disease management goals and lifestyle goals during your appointment to ensure that you and your GI are on the same page. Knowing your goals may help your GI map out a way to help you achieve them.
At the beginning of the appointment, let your GI know that there are specific things you’d like to discuss. That way you can be sure to dedicate some time during the appointment to talk through those issues.
When setting goals with your GI, be sure to discuss when your symptoms of ulcerative colitis have caused you to cancel plans, miss work, or significantly change your lifestyle. Provide your doctor with as much context as you can to give the fullest picture of your current situation.
Doctor appointments can cover a lot of information in a short amount of time. Trying to remember details later can be difficult. Whether it’s things you want to follow up on, research, or specific goals you want to track before your next appointment, be sure to take detailed notes about all that you discuss. Consider bringing a loved one or friend with you as well. It never hurts to have that extra bit of support in the appointment.
It’s not uncommon to remember questions later that you forgot to ask during your appointment. Find out the best way to communicate with your GI and their team. They might suggest that you send an email or talk to a nurse. Remember, you and your doctor are partners in your health. Establish the most productive relationship with your gastroenterologist possible and set goals that are right for you. This will help you understand your ulcerative colitis and its impact on your life.