Guide to a successful doctor visit

It is important and recommended for a CKD patient to be proactive which helps in better disease management. The more ownership patients take for their disease management, the slower will be the chances of disease progression. A nephrologist is the one that can help them take this ownership.

Since the treatment involves dialysis/transplant, diet modifications, exercise requirements, medications and comorbidities, following doctor’s step-by-step instructions will help them in better organized management of their kidney disease. Remember that every doctor visit makes a difference and a good doctor – patient interaction helps in moving one step closer to a successful treatment path!

Want to know the secrets for a successful doctor visit? Find out below...

Medical history

Medical history

Usually known as patient file,
medical history includes

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beReady

Be Ready!

You may be worried regarding your appointment

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communication

Communication

Your doctor will most likely
explain everything

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Follow up

Follow up

After every visit, make sure you
know your next step for eg.

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Here are some questions which the patient can ask his/her doctor :
  • 1.

    What exactly is my condition and what caused it?

    2.

    How will I know that my treatment is working?

    3.

    How long will it take for me to feel better?

    4.

    What to do if I miss my dose?

    5.

    Is there any other condition that is further contributing to my disease?

    6.

    For how long will I have to take these medicines?

    7.

    What are the risks and side effects associated with this medicine?

    8.

    Is there any other alternative medicine I can take?

    9.

    Where/How should I store my meds/vials/injections?

    10.

    When should I repurchase my medicines?

    11.

    Why is Dialysis necessary for CKD patients ?

    12.

    Why is Dialysis essential every week? Do I have any alternative over dialysis?

    13.

    What if I miss my Dialysis session?

    14.

    What should I do before Dialysis and what things should I carry to Dialysis center?

    15.

    What should I do after dialysis?

    16.

    Is there any special diet that I should follow?

    17.

    Are there any restrictions to be taken care of? ( alcohol/smoking etc)

    18.

    Is there anything else I should be doing to live a better life?

Check this list before you leave the clinic
  • Have you understood the instructions to take medications? Please contact ______ for clarity
  • Have you confirmed the date for your next doctor visit? Please get an appointment from ______
  • How and when to contact your doctor?
    • In case of emergency
    • In case of query
  • Things to carry for next visit?
    • Medical file
    • Medicines
    • Test reports
  • Who should accompany you for your visit?
    • Family member
    • Friends

Medical history

Usually known as patient file, medical history includes documentation of medical and health care services provided to a patient at the directions of a physician, nurse or other caregiver. These records include documentation of medical observations and opinions by these professionals as well as the treatment and diagnostic documentation, such as X-rays and laboratory work. These records can be a paper record, electronic record or both.

  • You should have a compilation of your past and current medical documents and records to take to doctor’s office for his reference. These may include
    These may include :-
    • Relevant medical records from other doctors for eg. Your cardiologists, Diabetologists or physicians.
    • Ultrasound imaging test records and MRI reports which help in detection of structural abnormalities of kidneys, if any.
    • Your blood tests and urine test results
    • Results and copies of x rays and other imaging studies
  • Your doctor should know about all your previous hospitalizations or surgeries or outpatient procedures. You can just mention the dates and reasons for your hospitalizations and talk in detail if your doctor asks you to.
  • You should keep a list of all the medications you regularly take along with their schedule. It is important to mention all your medications including your anti diabetic medicines, anti-hypertensives, multivitamins, non-allopathic medications and even Over the Counter (OTC) medications. For eg : an angiotensin converting enzyme inhibitor or angiotensin receptor blocker (ACE/ARB) prescription will help your nephrologist in better prediction of your disease related outcomes
  • In case you are allergic to certain medications or foods, it is important that your doctor knows about it. For example, if you are allergic to a certain medication, your doctor will ensure extra precautions regarding it during therapy.

Be ready!

You may be worried regarding your appointment and be afraid of some bad news. It is always helpful to bring along a family member or a friend who will not only provide emotional support but will also be a second set of eyes and ears and can help you in following doctor’s instructions.

You should always carry a notebook and a pen to take notes during each visit. Some people may also make use of their smartphone to take notes but it is always quicker and more convenient to note down important points on a piece of paper. You can later summarize and confirm with your doctor all the written points which will also help to avoid missing out on the important instructions

Communication

Your doctor will most likely explain everything in layman terms and make it as simple as possible for you. But in case you do not understand something or need more clarity on a certain topic, it is always recommended to ask about it at that moment itself. Do not feel embarrassed or think that you can look it up on internet later. Every piece of information is important and asking questions or queries will also help you to open up to your doctor. Given below is a list of possible questions that you can ask your doctor.

It is important to be honest with your doctor and admit if you have committed any mistake during your therapy. To err is human but it is important that your doctor knows what’s going on with your health. It may be an occasional smoke or drink, or missed medication or Dialysis appointment. You should never hide any health related concerns with your doctor. Once he knows, he will better be able to guide you in your further treatment.

Follow up

After every visit, make sure you know your next step for eg. Any new medication to start or any precautions to consider as instructed by doctor.

To help make things easier, make a to-do list and implement them – after every visit, review all the important points you had noted down and start implementing them. For example, if your doctor had mentioned to make certain diet notifications you can make a chart of the new recommended diet and stick it up in your kitchen so you remember to follow it daily

Call your doctor’s office in case you have any additional questions or certain queries which you could not ask during the visit. He will be able to guide you through phone or address them in detail in the next visit. In case it is scheduled for a visit, make sure you write it down or print it.

Set reminder on your phone or make a chart at home of your Dialysis and medication schedule.

Click here to get personalized Dialysis session/doctor visit and medication reminders from our team.