Advocate: Making the Most of Your Appointment


In a perfect world, we would all have someone who could attend doctors’ appointments with us, ask important questions and help us understand what is being told to us. In lieu of that perfect world, we can all act as our own advocate at any doctor’s appointment.

One of the best tools to do this is to write it down!

  • Write down any symptoms or issues you are having that prompted you to make the appointment. Do this days ahead of time, if possible.
  • Write down all medications you are taking (or bring them with you).
  • Keep a running list of all of your questions.
  • Take notes on what the doctor tells you regarding any diagnosis, prognosis, tests that need to be performed (and why) and any other next steps. Don’t be afraid to ask your doctor to spell out words you don’t know or explain their meaning to you.
  • Use a tape recorder or smartphone to record your appointment so that you can remember more detail. Please notify your doctor and any care staff that you would like to record the appointment so that you can listen later or share the correct information with a loved one afterward.

Being your own advocate is an invaluable skill to learn and hone even if you have an engaged family or group of friends who are willing to help you. It also allows you to further develop your connection with your physician, nurses and any other member of your care team.

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Henry Ford Health System is committed to ensuring our Deaf or hard-of-hearing patients and visitors have equal access to all services. We provide the appropriate auxiliary aids and services, including qualified sign language interpreters, TTYs and other assistive listening devices, at no cost. To request assistance, call 313-916-1896 or email [email protected].

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