How to take an active role in your post-transplant care
These are suggestions on how to get important information and make informed choices:
- Learn about your condition. Ask for written information.
- Learn about your possible treatment options. Ask if you have been told about all the available options.
- Organize your information. Keep a record of conversations with names and phone numbers. Write down important words and definitions. Ask family and friends to help you collect and organize information.
- Ask your doctor to explain the treatment options that he or she feels are the best available to treat your condition. Before you move forward with a treatment, the doctor will explain the treatment in detail so that you understand. You have the right to get the opinions of other doctors. You can refuse any treatment. If you want to change doctors, you should check with your insurance company.
- Ask your doctor how many people with your condition he or she has treated. Ask about the success rate for recommended treatments. Ask what will happen without the treatment. Repeat back to the doctor what you hear to make sure you understand correctly.
- Write down questions and answers or have a friend or family member go with you and take notes. Don't rely on your memory. Ask your doctor if you may record conversations on a tape recorder.
- If you are unsure about the best treatment, ask for a second and even a third medical opinion. Contact your insurance company to make sure it covers second opinions.
- If you have disagreements with your doctor, tell him or her. Give the doctor a chance to resolve problems with you. Talking openly gives everyone a chance to find the right solution.
- Know your insurance benefits. Talk to your insurance provider directly or ask your employer to help you. Your insurance may cover only certain hospitals, doctors or treatments. Check this out as soon as possible to help you understand your options.
- If you don't find the answer right away, keep asking. There are hospital social workers and financial workers who can help you find answers about your rights and your insurance.