Getting my Doctor to Listen
If you and your doctor have agreed to make decisions together, your doctor should be prepared to listen to your concerns and take them into account. However, what if your doctor does not use shared decision-making or does not seem to hear or accept your concerns?
Seeing a doctor can feel intimidating, and you may feel pressed for time. Even so, there are several things you can try to improve communication with your doctor and have more say in decisions about your care.
If you think you are not being heard, tell your doctor that your concern is important to you and that you want to talk it over. Explain why it matters to you and ask the doctor what can be done.
If you have doubts about a treatment your doctor prescribes, explain your doubts and ask for more information.
If your doctor suggests a treatment you object to, explain why you object and ask if there are other options to try.
If you feel the doctor is deciding for you, tell the doctor you want to take part in deciding about your treatment and you would like to use shared decision-making. Shared decision-making is a new concept, so your doctor may not have considered it before. Ask your doctor to look at this website (youreontheteam.org) which has a section just for doctors.
If you feel the doctor is rushing past your concerns because the appointment time is short, you can save time by preparing for your appointment. By writing down your questions and concerns beforehand, you can quickly inform the doctor about how you are doing and what you need. You can also print out a checklist and fill it out to organize your thoughts in advance. It will help you remember what you want to say. Give a copy of the form to the doctor to help save time.
If you feel like you and your doctor are not understanding each other, ask to bring a person you trust to your appointment. It could be a trusted friend, an advocate, a peer specialist or a family member. The presence of another person can help you and your doctor listen carefully to each other. After the appointment, go over what you heard and understood with your friend. Ask for their feedback on what they heard you say and what they heard the doctor say.
If you and your doctor can’t reach any agreement about your treatment, see the next page, My doctor and I don't agree.