Tips for Communicating With Your Care Team

Good communication is the key to health care. We encourage you to ask questions and let us know about your concerns. Be sure to speak with your care team about your needs throughout your stay.

ASK

Before you meet with your doctor or health care provider, write down all of the questions you want to ask. Feel free to ask a family member or friend to help you make notes during your conversations with your health care providers.

If you are diagnosed with a condition or need to get a test or treatment, you should ask questions so that you fully understand your condition and how further tests and treatments will help you. Here are some examples:

  • What tests or treatments are recommended for my condition?
  • Why do I need to do this (test or treatment)?
  • What will it involve?
  • What new medications, if any, will I have to take?
  • How long might I have to take them?
  • Is there anything else that I can do to improve my condition?

If you are given medications, you should ask questions of your care team. Here are some examples:

  • How will these medications help me?
  • What are the possible side effects?
  • How and when should I take this medicine?

LISTEN

Listen carefully to everything your health care team tells you. If you do not understand what your health care provider is telling you, ask for it to be repeated or explained until you feel that you understand. Sometimes, you will get a lot of information at once. It can be helpful to have a friend or family member with you to help listen and take notes.

TALK

It’s important for the care team to understand your health and your needs and preferences.

  • Discuss your symptoms with your health care team.
  • Help your care team learn everything about your health history. If you have any health conditions or if a condition runs in your family, let them know.
  • Talk about your medications, and make sure you fully understand why you’re taking medication and how it will improve your health.
  • If something doesn’t seem right, tell a member of your health care team

*Information adapted from the Canadian Patient Safety Institute, Tips for Patients and Families