Have you ever thought about Goal setting with your provider? If not, you really should.
In this post I want to share with you why I think it’s important and how to do it.
Why should you set goals with your provider?
After decades of Dr’s appointments I got really tired of feeling like I was being tossed about in the wind and different medical professionals were taking ” best guesses” with me. Often times I felt like I had to “not know” things in order to get help, or take a passive role as to not upset my medical professionals.
I was recently reminded of an appointment with my OBGYN. I came in to get my hormone level test results to see if things were normal, or we could help some of my pre-menopausal like symptoms that were occurring in my early 30’s and get a script for another round of PT. My OB wouldn’t prescribe PT unless I allowed him to perform a laproscopic surgery because he was sure my pain was from endometriosis or PCOS ( Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome).
I had politely explained that my symptoms were not consistent with those issues and I had looked into them in other states with other Doctors and we all agreed it didn’t fit. I was told again how sure he was he could “fix me” with this exploratory surgery. I didn’t want the surgery. It felt wrong, so wrong. Yet I felt like I had to do it if I was going to continue to get care from my MD.
Why didn’t I just say no and change Doctors? Great question.
I didn’t feel like I could. My experience with MD’s had been so disappointing through all these years that this kinda seemed like care.
So I “agreed” to the surgery and asked if he found nothing if I still had to pay for it. He said that wasn’t how it worked. I am sure you won’t be surprised to find out my inner lady parts were all 100% intact, and as normal as they could possibly be. My OB had just preformed an unnecessary surgery on me and I didn’t stop him. Yes, I had to pay for it and no, he didn’t apologize.
What’s the lesson here? You have to take ownership of your care: you are a partner not a passive participate and you have a hand in decision making. This is empowerment. As a patient you have a say in what happens to you. You have a right to say no to procedures that don’t make sense and ask for explanations. Use your voice. Listen to your gut. Ask the questions you need to ask. By doing this, you are able to negotiate treatment choices that don’t agree with you.
How should you set goals with your provider?
- To communicate what you want, you have to know what that is. This means being in touch with yourself. Do you “just want someone to fix you” or do you want help to learn to live differently?
- Know what your pain means to you: what have you stopped doing because of your pain? What do you want to return to? What level of “not hurting” do you think you need to try those things again. Be prepared totally about it.
- Consider how you feel about interventions. Is there anything you don’t want to do? Things you don’t prefer? Things you need to know before you commit to them. These are important things to know before going into an appointment.
- Why are you at the appointment? What do you want help with?
- What are your expectations? Write them out. Look them over, are they realistic? Is what you want, actually what this professional does? Once you know what your expectations are and feel they are realistic, I want you to write that down and take it with you to the appointment.
Collect your thoughts and information
- If this is a first appointment be sure you have your medical history and be prepared to talk about your pain. I have blog posts on both those topics with work sheets for you to print and take. Just click the links above. By being prepared you will be more clear when we head to your appointment.
- Remember you are a vital part of the medical team, without you they can’t do their job. Also remember they have trained and gone to school and conferences to learn. That doesn’t mean they know everything about everything. If you expect them to know everything, you will be disappointed. A good medical professional should want to partner with you to come to a plan together.
Start the conversation
Bronnie Thompson OT suggests asking these three questions:
- What’s my problem? How do you know and what are the alternatives?
- What do I need to do?
- Why is that important?
These questions give a framework to where you are with your provider.
Then when asked what you want to work or why you are there be prepared to give that answer.
Work together to devise a plan that is medically sound and helps you move towards an active life.
If you need help making a plan, book a consult with me and lets get you on the road to healing.
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