Throughout my journey with psoriasis I have had hundreds of hospital appointments, but I never feel they get easier. I generally spend the few days before my appointment getting anxious and stressed – which for me is a trigger for a flare up! I just find the whole hospital appointment and check-up experience distressing, however these appointments are vital for my health. The reason I say this is as much as I would rather be doing anything else than taking a trip to the hospital, I know my Dermatologist is the answer to controlling my psoriasis. To prevent feeling anxious I always ensure I leave enough time to get to my appointment, find a car parking space and make my way to the clinic. These are the kind of things that I get anxious about so I have to be on time – silly I know, but true!
Once I am in the clinic I often see the same Nurses who always go out of their way to speak to me and it’s very reassuring. Luckily, in the 5 years I have been going to my new hospital, I have always seen the same Nurse and Dermatologist.
It has taken me a long time to find out how I can best make use of my appointments. I used to just sit down, accept what was said and leave. This is great for escaping quickly, however I would come home with so many unanswered questions it was a waste of time. On one of my appointments I was waiting in the clinic for a long period of time as they were behind schedule, when I found a wonderful resource for attending hospital appointments. It was a check list which had been created by the hospital to ensure patients were making the most out of their time with the health professional. I studied the leaflet in depth and couldn’t believe how great it was and such a simple idea!
The leaflet suggests questions you should be able to ask, what you may want to bring with you to clinic and also what to do if you feel your questions hadn’t been answered. The main thing that stood out for me was questioning treatments, if you feel something isn’t working or quite right for you, you are entitled to ask for some new options or recommendations. Luckily for me I was actually very happy with this as my Derm is great and always shows me his plan for treatments at each of my appointments, however it did made me realise I was entitled to take control of what I wanted as well.
The other idea I truly believe is vital is taking someone else with you to the appointment (if possible). The reason for this is that they can help take in the information given, especially if you are being told negative things as they could take time to settle in and digest. My advice would be if no one is available to attend the appointment with you, just take a notepad and pen and note down what is being said.
The main point the leaflet stressed was to ensure that when leaving an appointment you clearly understand what treatment to take and the correct direction for use. This for me is hugely important having experienced wrong information about applying treatments.
My appointment has the same routine each time I attend the clinic. Firstly, I see my Dermatologist, followed by bloods and then pharmacy. Although I see the same professionals and have the same routine, I always get worked up beforehand therefore having some guidance on how to deal with appointments and being organised helps me stay in control and enables me to get through!
My main tips for hospital appointments:
- Before you go to your appointment, note down any questions you have.
- Take a full list of your medication and dosage.
- Take someone with you if possible.
- Arrive with plenty of time for your appointment.
- Make sure you leave with all your questions answered.
- Feel confident about your appointment – it’s your body and mind so it should be right for you.
I also use a theory of time for getting through my appointment – remember it may feel like an hour but in reality you only get minutes with your health professional, so make the most of your appointment.
This content is not intended to advise you about your health. Always seek advice from your doctor or other qualified healthcare professionals.
UK/IE MAT-02991. Date of Prep: April 2016