Advocating for yourself in healthcare means speaking up about what you need from healthcare professionals, leading a healthier lifestyle, and using technology to document everything relating to your health. This post offers you some simple but important strategies to take charge of your wellness in this fast-paced and stressful society in which we live. Doing these things and making sure that you make your needs heard could make a huge difference in your healthcare and your quality of life.
Advocating means learning to speak up
Establishing a connection with your healthcare provider can help you feel more comfortable discussing your health concerns. Don’t be afraid to ask questions or to seek a second opinion. By establishing a relationship with your healthcare professional, you ensure that you receive the best possible care.
If you don’t have a family doctor already, you may want to try to find one. A good family doctor will provide you with a continuity of treatment you cannot get from a walk-in clinic or emergency department.
When you visit your doctor, you need to speak up and make your concerns and questions heard. Banner Health explains how to act as your own best advocate. If you do not speak up for yourself, no one will do it for you. So don’t be afraid to ask questions and clarify information. Actively participate in your healthcare.
Building a healthcare team
Also, go beyond an MD alone. Find a nutritionist who can help you develop a plan for healthy eating for your specific dietary needs. A personal trainer can teach you healthy ways to work your body to get the fitness results you want. A physiotherapist can help you address nagging injuries, aches, and pains. And therapist can provide you with emotional support and new ways of looking at challenges and obstacles.
Leading a healthier lifestyle
Between visits with your healthcare providers, you can take charge of your lifestyle by leading a healthier lifestyle. From diet to exercise, day in, day out, the decisions you make matter greatly. Make eating a nutritious diet, being physically active, drinking plenty of water, and getting enough sleep essential components of your lifestyle.
Start with small changes, like walking to your neighborhood store instead of driving whenever possible or taking the stairs at work instead of the elevator. Take advantage of every opportunity to keep you moving, which works wonders for your body and state-of-mind.
30 minutes a day of exercise can improve your cardiovascular fitness, strengthen bones, reduce fat, and build muscles and endurance. Plus, exercise helps prevent all kinds of disease.
Taking advantage of personal technology
Technology has come a long way in recent years, and it can serve you well in managing your health. All kinds of healthcare apps can help you track your progress, remind you to take your medication, and communicate with your healthcare provider. Use tools like these to stay on top of your health and stay informed about your treatment options.
Also, if you don’t own one and your budget permits, consider investing in a FitBit or another wearable device that helps you track your steps and physical activities.
Keep track of your medical history, medications, and any diagnoses you have received. This information can prove invaluable in managing your health, and it can help you communicate more effectively with your healthcare provider. So, make sure you keep a copy of all your medical records, including lab results, x-rays, and other diagnostic tests.
Keeping a food journal can help you build awareness of how different foods affect your body and your mind. For instance, you may find that you get headaches or that your sleep gets disrupted by eating particular foods. Pay special attention to your coffee consumption, too. Caffeine is a stimulant and a diuretic, so it can make it hard to sleep and dehydrate you.
Get and stay organized
Keeping your medical records organized ensures you have the right information available when you need it. Consider creating PDFs of your medical files, and taking advantage of features such as digital signatures and secure sharing to easily sign and share them with others when needed.
Ensure you know what your insurance covers
Lastly, understanding your insurance coverage enables you to better manage your healthcare costs. Make sure you know the services your insurance covers and what you can expect to pay out of pocket. This knowledge can help you make informed decisions about your healthcare options and avoid unexpected bills.
Being your own health advocate means taking control of your healthcare and speaking up for yourself. By establishing relationships with your doctor and other healthcare providers, staying informed about your options, and taking responsibility for your health, you can ensure that you receive the best possible care.
Utilizing technology like apps and devices, documenting everything, and keeping your records organized and an eye on your insurance coverage can help you manage your healthcare more effectively. Remember, you are your own best healthcare advocate!