Living with a painful condition can be difficult. Not only do you have to cope with the pain itself, but you may also have to deal with doctors who don’t seem to understand your condition, insurance companies that are trying to deny your claims, and a system that seems designed to make it hard for you to get the care you need.
It can be frustrating and overwhelming. But you don’t have to go through it alone. You can be your own best advocate! In this article, Pain UK will give you tips on how to navigate the healthcare system and get the care you deserve.
Make Healthy Changes
If you want to be an advocate for your own health, it’s important to start by taking care of yourself. Eating right, exercising, and getting enough sleep will make you feel better and give you the energy and strength you need to fight for your care.
You might be surprised how easily you can fit a few healthy habits into your routine. For example, taking the stairs instead of the lift and bringing healthy snacks to work can go a long way in boosting your health and providing you with more energy for the day. Look for foods that specifically reduce inflammation.
Find the Right Healthcare Professional
Not all healthcare professionals are created equal. You may need to see many different specialists before you find one who really understands your condition and is willing to work with you to find the best treatment plan. Don’t be afraid to ask your doctor if there is someone else you could be referred to.
If you have private insurance: understand Your Health Insurance
Now that 10% of people are seeking private healthcare, we need to learn a different way of looking at our healthcare providers. One of the most important things you can do is to understand your health insurance. Know what your policy covers and doesn’t cover. Familiarize yourself with the terms and conditions. And don’t be afraid to ask questions if you don’t understand something. The customer service representative is there to help you.
Maintain Your Own Records
Keep your own records of your medical appointments, test results, and medications. This will help you keep track of your condition and make it easier to communicate with your healthcare team. It’s also a good idea to bring a list of your questions or concerns to each appointment.
You can keep all your medical records and files organized in a PDF. Scanning a number of pages and creating a single PDF is simple when you have the right tools.
Know What you are meant to do now…
If you’re not sure about a diagnosis or treatment plan, don’t be afraid to ask. A doctor needs to know that you have understood and more importantly when you have not understood what you need to do. If you are paying for your treatment, don’t be afraid to ask for a second opinion.
There are also a number of free preventive services available to people who live in the UK. These include screenings for conditions like heart disease, stroke, and diabetes, as well as advice on quitting smoking, losing weight, and eating a healthy diet.
Self-advocacy is a vital skill for anyone living with a chronic condition. By taking care of yourself, finding the right healthcare team, and understanding your insurance, you can ensure you get the best possible care. And don’t forget to keep your medical records in a PDF, review your bills for errors, and follow the other tips above!