How to Be an Advocate for Your Own Health

Advocate your own health

How to Be an Advocate for Your Own Health

Author: Jennifer McGregor (Guest Author)

While medical professionals are often a key part of maintaining your health, acting on your own behalf is also important. You can do things to make your interactions with healthcare systems more productive and less troublesome. Always Fit Life has some suggestions for how to be your best advocate in healthcare situations.

Ask Questions

Don’t hesitate to ask any questions about your health insurance, diagnosis, treatment plan, or anything that isn’t clear. It’s important to understand how your health insurance works, so make sure you know what your deductible is, what providers are considered in or out of network, and any limits on the care you can receive, as well as how to make and appeal rejected claims. Under the Affordable Care Act, many preventative services are covered by insurance, including cancer and other disease screenings, immunizations, and testing for many other conditions.

Find the Best Provider for You

Finding a good fit with a health care provider can take some effort. You can read reviews of local professionals on many websites, such as Healthgrades or even Yelp or Google reviews. It’s also a good idea to ask friends and family members for recommendations. Make a test appointment, and if you and the professional don’t communicate well or something else is off, keep looking. Few people would expect to find the perfect fit in the first home or car they look at, and it can be the same with a doctor–you might need to shop around.

If you’re a small business owner, you may feel the pressure to offer health insurance to your employees – and for yourself. It may feel overwhelming to take on the cost, but providing the type of coverage that your employees need to maintain their physical and mental health is important. Plus, it can be a great selling point for potential recruits. Look into the different options available to you as a business owner, and choose one that fits both your and your employees’ needs.

Make Your Appointment Count

Before your appointment, scribble down the concerns you wish to ask the doctor about. If you are anxious, arrange to have a friend or family member accompany you to your appointment. They can take notes, so you’ll be free to focus your interaction with the physician. If an expensive, painful, drastic, or long-term treatment is prescribed for you, or if your health questions are not satisfactorily addressed, make an appointment and, as MediFind notes, get a second opinion from another health professional.

Fill Out the Forms

When you visit a new healthcare provider, you generally have a good deal of paperwork to complete. Sometimes this can be done online. Some offices send the paper forms to your home ahead of your visit. Take time to fill them out completely and either return them by mail or take them with you to the appointment. Providing the doctor with all your information will help to ensure that you get the proper diagnosis, and you can also have your electronic records forwarded as needed. There are digital tools that permit you to fill out and sign forms online, and they can be submitted via email, so you don’t have to send them via the post office. If you have previous test results from other offices, Better By The Beat suggests bringing copies of these with you.

Consider Your Living Environment and Options

Living in a safe and comfortable place becomes ever more important if you’re a senior. For situations when the home environment could use some tweaking, it’s possible to adjust the living space without going broke. You can DIY a ramp if stairs are a struggle without spending a lot of time or money. If your home could be cooler, look for a portable air conditioner like those produced by LG, Hisense, and Windmill. Oftentimes they just need a shot of freon to get working again, which is when it’s best to call on local AC pros to get your air conditioning unit repaired. Do some research online and check out customer ratings and reviews posted on service directories to get a feel for what they can do for you, and for what cost.

If you’re in relatively good health, you might consider a senior living community, where you have your own apartment, or even house, that has conveniences that will make your life easier. Some facilities provide rides to medical appointments, while others offer on-site health care.

If you are experiencing health issues that require skilled nursing or round-the-clock care, a nursing home might be a better fit. Before choosing a place to live, find reviews of the facilities you are considering. Be sure to collect information on cost, staffing, amenities, and general client satisfaction. Look online for databases and reviews of facilities that include information on types of care, pricing, payment options, and detailed facility reports.

No matter where you decide to live, prioritize creating a calm and stress-free environment in your home. You can harness the calming power of nature by bringing in potted plants and opening window coverings to let sunlight in. It’s also a great idea to fill your kitchen with healthy snacks, so that you feed your body with nutrient-rich foods instead of unhealthy fillers.

Taking an active role in your medical care can help things go more smoothly, as well as make sure that the doctor has all the information necessary to offer the best care. You don’t have to be a passive recipient of care. You have choices and options, and learning as much as you can about them will be beneficial.

Always Fit Life can help you transform your body and mind so that you can begin to optimize your health. Learn more by getting in touch with us.