Why a good relationship helps you take control
Taking control of your psoriasis doesn't mean doing it alone. In addition to friends, family, colleagues and support groups, establishing a good relationship with your doctor can be a great boost and help you manage your condition effectively.
An open and honest dialogue
Building a good relationship is important because it allows for open and honest dialogue. The more comfortable you feel talking to your doctor, the more likely you'll be able to explain what's really going on and to share how you're actually feeling… and by getting the full picture, your doctor can provide you with the right advice and treatment.
This is not always easy. Everyone is different, so there are any number of reasons why the relationship might be less than ideal.
You should always remember that if something matters to you then it matters to your doctor too.
Having a good relationship with your doctor may be one of the best ways to successfully manage your condition. To ensure you are able to have open and honest conversations with your doctor, be aware of the following concerns some people have so they don't prevent you from getting the most out of your consultation.
1. Feel unable to tell your doctor when you don't understand something?
During a doctor's appointment there's often not much time, a lot to take in, and it's all too easy to leave without understanding everything that's been said. Don't hesitate to ask your doctor to explain things again, or write things down – they are used to repeating things. If you don't have time or feel awkward, you might want to book an appointment with a nurse who can talk things through with you at another time.
2. Not telling your doctor everything because you worry that they are too busy?
Healthcare professionals may be busy but they all try to put their patients first. If you have a lot to talk about, ask the receptionist whether you can have an extended appointment. Also, before you go in to see the doctor, it might help to write down any questions you have as this will ensure you don't forget to discuss any of your concerns.
3. Prefer to talk to a male or female doctor because of embarrassment about psoriasis in an intimate area?
Most medical practices have both male and female doctors and it's perfectly acceptable to ask to see one or the other. Simply tell the receptionist your preference when you phone or go in for an appointment.
4. Worried about information that you found on the Internet?
If you have questions about information that you've found on the Internet, it's a good idea to print off the page and take it with you to discuss with your doctor. It's also worth asking whether the websites you're looking at are a reliable and credible source.
5. Stressed and anxious because your appointment is running late?
Medical practices work in different ways; some may offer both walk-in appointments for urgent issues and a booking system for longer-term patients. This can mean that pre-booked sessions are more likely to run on time but some appointments may well run over. Try to allow a little more time than just your appointment slot so you don't feel anxious if you have to wait. Take a book or magazine so the time will pass quickly.
6. Concerned after getting a new doctor?
All doctors spend time going through new patients' records to find out their medical history, so your new doctor will know more about you than you realise and will be used to putting patients at ease.
7. Getting distracted because the doctor is typing during your appointment?
Although this can be a distraction, typing simply shows that your doctor is actually documenting what you're saying so that it's on record. So, even if it appears otherwise, he or she will be listening as well as typing.
8. Wondering whether it's OK if you take notes?
There is no problem writing down what your doctor is saying and they may well encourage you to, as discussing new treatment options can be a lot to take on board. Another good idea is to take a partner or close friend to the appointment. They can help you remember the facts and can give emotional support and, after the appointment, you'll be able to discuss your condition and treatment with somebody who really understands what you're going through.
Being aware of these common concerns can help you make the most of your doctor's appointment. Taking a little time to consider how you will deal with any of these issues can make a big difference and maximise the chance of having an effective consultation and, more importantly, of getting the best psoriasis treatment for you.
UK/IE 2013b/00073, Date of prep: April 2015