gdc
Survivorship

10 Ways to Get Engaged in Your Care

This column is intended to help you take control and stay engaged in your cancer care. By participating in decisions about your care, you will be able to get the greatest benefit from the health services you need.
August 2015 Vol 1 No 4
Mandi L. Pratt-Chapman, PhD
Department of Medicine, The George Washington University School of Medicine and Health Sciences

Some patients like to make most of their healthcare decisions, and others prefer to rely on their doctors to make the big decisions for them. Whichever you prefer, having a conversation with your healthcare team about your concerns and the things that matter most to you is a critical part of making the right decisions for you.

Our healthcare system is changing every day. More demands are placed on patients, because there is increasing pressure on doctors to see more patients and provide more services to each patient.

Tell Your Doctor

So where do you start? How will you know if your doctor is right for you? How will you sort through the endless information available to you? How will you know you are doing the right things for your body, your family, and yourself?

We all need to learn how to tell if the information we receive is reliable, and we all benefit from voicing what is most important to us in our healthcare. If you do not tell your doctor, your treatment team cannot know what you will consider a success of your treatment.

For some patients, their biggest concern may be not going into bankruptcy as a result of cancer treatment. For others, it may be relief from symptoms that make it difficult to do their job or spend quality time with their family. Only you know what is most important to you.

10 Ways to Be Engaged

To get started, follow these 10 ways to be an engaged, prepared patient. We will explore how to apply specific actions in each of these areas to your daily life in future issues.

  1. Find safe, decent healthcare
  2. Communicate with your healthcare professionals
  3. Organize your healthcare
  4. Pay for your healthcare
  5. Make good treatment decisions
  6. Participate in your treatment
  7. Promote your own health
  8. Get preventive healthcare
  9. Plan for end-of-life care
  10. Seek health knowledge

We all need to learn how to tell if the information we receive is reliable, and we all benefit from voicing what is most important to us in our healthcare.

Your active participation in your health and your healthcare impacts the length and quality of your life.

So let’s get started and keep you on track!

What is one thing you can do today to promote your health?

For daily news on how to be a prepared patient, follow us on Twitter @PreparedPatient

Patient Resources

Center for Advancing Health
http://www.cfah.org/prepared-patient/

Center for Advancing Health Prepared Patient Blog
https://www.cfah.org/blog/list-blog-posts/2015.html

Harvard Medical School Patient Education Center
http://www.patienteducationcenter.org

Recommended For You
SurvivorshipOnline Only
Finding the Light in a Heavy Journey
By Carrie Cefalu (Karen)
Some people think I’m crazy for making light of such a serious issue, but this is how my husband and I have handled this journey.
SurvivorshipOnline Only
The Empowered Patient: Improving Digital Health Literacy for All
By Jennifer Lessinger
Struggling to manage your healthcare online? The Patient Empowerment Network has a free program to teach you the basics of digital technology.
SurvivorshipLymphoma
You Only Live T-W-I-C-E: A Cancer Warrior’s Motto
By Steffi Dawn Ilagan
Receiving a diagnosis of stage IIIB diffuse large B-cell non-Hodgkin lymphoma at age 26 at the start of COVID-19 meant that Steffi Ilagan had to sideline a lot of her plans. Her story illuminates the meaning of “T-W-I-C-E” when facing cancer.
Last modified: March 10, 2022

Subscribe to CONQUER: the journey informed

Receive timely cancer news & updates, patient stories, and more.


Country
Race or Ethnicity
Gender
Profession or Role
Primary Interest
Other Interests