Your appointment with your neurologist is very important, and you should be properly prepared in order for it to be as beneficial as possible. In this article, I will discuss the responsibilities each individual must assume in order to get the most out of your visit to the neurologist, and I will provide a few tips to help you to prepare properly.
Thanks to the proliferation of the Internet; people are increasingly better informed about MS and the treatments that are available. Nevertheless, many people are nervous, anxious, and/or embarrassed when they meet with their neurologist, to the extent that they don’t dare to ask questions, and even forget to ask for a prescription to renew their medication.
As a patient, you have certain responsibilities you must assume in order to ensure you receive the best possible care. First, you should always confirm your appointment before going to the clinic. There may have been last-minute schedule changes. Be sure to inform the clinic of any changes with respect to your address or telephone number so they will be able to contact you. If you need to renew your prescription before the scheduled date of your next appointment, call at least 2 to 3 weeks in advance, or as soon as your pharmacist tells you that you have no renewals left. By doing so, you will avoid running out of medication. The pharmacist can fax a request for a renewal directly to your doctor’s office. Your neurologist simply has to sign the fax and return it.
If you change insurance companies and you are taking a medication for which the doctor must request an exception, such as an immunomodulator, inform the nurse or secretary at the clinic of the details of your new policy. Otherwise, your insurer will not reimburse you for the cost of this medication, which is very expensive. This also applies if you do not have private insurance, in which case you must apply for your provincial drug insurance plan.
If you are unable to attend your appointment, please take the time to notify us so your appointment time can be given to another patient. Be sure to bring your hospital card and Medicare card with you to your appointment, because the doctor may prescribe examinations or blood tests.
Here are a few tips that will make your trip to the neurologist easier.
Before you leave your home for your appointment, be sure to prepare a list of all of your medications, including natural products, along with the dosage and frequency for each one. If you have trouble reading the labels, bring the bottles with you. Some pharmacies are willing to print a list of your medications for you.
Write down any important points you want to discuss with the doctor prior to your appointment. For example, you may want to talk about other treatments or research protocols, or ask whether you should be referred for physiotherapy, etc. Make a note of any new symptoms and/or relapses. This will make it easier for the neurologist to give you advice or to prescribe the proper medication to alleviate some of the symptoms. If possible, have someone go to the appointment with you. Nervousness, anxiety, or memory problems can cause you to forget relevant and important details.
Wear loose clothing that is easy to remove. It is always possible the doctor may need to examine a certain part of your body during the neurological examination. Wear low-heeled shoes or boots that are easy to remove. This will also give you better stability when walking. The neurologist may ask you to walk down the corridor in order to evaluate your gait. If you wear reading glasses, please bring them with you, because you will need them during your vision exam.
Remember, if you want to get the most out of your visit with the neurologist, you must be well prepared. It is also important for you to establish a relationship of trust with the doctor and/or nurse at your clinic, because multiple sclerosis will affect you throughout your life. Therefore, it is important and preferable for you to have a neurologist you trust and can rely on. However, your neurologist is not a replacement for your family doctor. Never hesitate to consult your family doctor for any other health problems.
Have a great appointment!
This feature is intended solely for informational purposes and is not a substitute for routine or urgent medical evaluation, treatment or consultation. Josée Poirier’s guest editorial should not be construed as a medical opinion aimed at establishing a diagnosis or course of treatment. Individuals who are being treated should not construe information here as replacing or superseding recommendations of their own physician.