Our guide to medical questions you should ask during a doctor's appointment is designed to make sure you and your family member come away from a visit with all the information you need to better manage your healthcare.
A visit to the doctor, where you are told a great many things that you may not understand, can be confusing for anyone. Older people in particular often feel intimidated when they talk to a doctor and hesitate to ask the doctor questions because they believe it’s impolite.
But not asking questions can lead to medical errors with serious consequences. For instance, misunderstanding directions on how to take a prescription or not comprehending the risks of a procedure can lead to a troubled outcome that a simple question could have avoided.
Don't hesitate to speak up when you don't understand something. Doctors aren't always aware that they haven't explained something in terms you understand ...and they do want you to understand. When in doubt, repeat what the doctor has told you and ask if you've got it right.
If you are accompanying an older friend or family member to an appointment, you can help by taking along a notepad and writing down the doctor's answers.
For more information on how to be an informed healthcare consumer, check out The Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) website
which offers consumers lists of questions to ask doctors.