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Making the Most of Your Appointment

Like me, most consultants or practitioners offer an appointment of a fixed period of time. During your initial appointment, there is a tremendous amount of work to be done; a full medical history to take, treatment options to be discussed and, of course, hopefully, treatment to get started. This is a lot to try and acheive!

To help you get the most out of our first appointment, I have put together some tips which will help maximise our time.

Understanding You

Bring any scans or reports

  • If you have had X-rays, MRI or ultrasound scans taken that relate to your current pain or complaint – bring them with you!
  • If you have had treatment or surgery previously, bring any reports from your earlier consultant or practitioner.

These will help me understand what has happened and/or what treatment you have already had. If you do not have copies of these pictures or reports then do not be afraid to go back and ask for them. These are your scans and this is your body. Make sure you know what has happened.

Make a note of your medical history
One of the first things I will do is take a detailed medical history. This could be quite a simple “I fell over and hurt my hand” to a complicated history involving many years, many events and many treatments.

Jotting down a few key points will make sure you don’t forget anything important:

  • When did this problem start?
  • Have you had any operations (this should include any operation you have had where you were put under general anaesthetic)?
  • When were these operations?
  • Has the problem changed over the years?
  • What medication are you on?
  • Have you had any other treatment?
  • Are you diabetic?
  • Do you have heart problems?

What are your symptoms?
This is some of the most important information for your practitioner.

  • Where is the pain?
  • Can you describe it? Sharp / dull / tingling / moves
  • Is it caused by a particular action or movement?
  • Do you have any numbness, tingling or weakness?
  • What everyday activities are compromised?

Take the time to write down this information, it is much easier to remember that way!

Clinical Assessment

After I have taken all your details, I will do a thorough clinical assessment. This allows me to review you, the patient and not just the pictures or reports.

This gives me the opportunity to understand the unique circumstances of your problem. No 2 people are alike so why should 2 knees or backs be the same?

How to Proceed

Once I have all your details and I’ve done the clinical assessment, we will have a clear idea of the nature of the problem and what options are available to you.

I will explain these to you, making sure you understand what to expect from each treatment option including how long it will take, how much it will cost and what benefit you can expect to gain.

You are the only one who can decide which treatment is best for you. It is important that you take the responsibility to participate in, and take ownership of, any decisions involving your health care. You will be asked to make the final decision about what is best for you, so ask questions about anything you do not understand.

Think Things Through

Choosing your treatment plan involves weighing the cost and benefits of the options. For some patients this may mean they want to go away to discuss these with family and friends.

You must approach your treatment with confidence, a positive mental attitude and a thorough understanding of the anticipated outcome. You should have realistic goals and be willing to work steadily to achieve these goals. Medical science can now achieve amazing results. Many of these are not achieved overnight and you, the patient, must also work to achieve them.

I look forward to helping you achieve your health goals.

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