Build a stronger relationship with your doctor and health care team

Why a good relationship helps you take control

Taking control of your psoriasis doesn’t mean doing it alone. In addition to friends, family, colleagues and support groups, establishing a good relationship with your doctor can be a great boost and help you manage your condition effectively. Nurses and pharmacists can also be an important part of your health care team.

An open and honest dialogue

Building a good relationship is important because it allows for open and honest dialogue. The more comfortable you feel talking to your doctor, the more likely you’ll be to explain what’s really going on and to share how you’re actually feeling. And by getting the full picture, your doctor can provide you with the right advice and treatment.

This is not always easy. Everyone is different and so there may be a number of reasons why the relationship might be less than ideal.

The bottom line is, if something matters to you then it matters to your doctor too.

During a consultation you might feel thrown off course by a number of issues. Here are some worth considering in advance:

1. You may feel unable to tell your doctor when you don’t understand something.

During a doctor’s appointment there’s often a lot to take in, and it’s all too easy to leave without understanding everything that's been said. So don’t hesitate to ask your doctor to explain things again – they are used to repeating things. If there is a nurse employed in the practice, you might also ask for an appointment with him or her to talk things through with you. Take a note pad to write things down.

2. You may not tell your doctor everything because you worry that they are too busy.

If you have a lot to talk about you may want to alert your doctor’s office when making the appointment. Perhaps you can ask the receptionist if it’s possible to set aside a bit of extra time. Also, before you go in to see the doctor it might help to write down any questions you have. This will help ensure that all your concerns are discussed.

3. You may prefer to talk to a male or female doctor because of embarrassment about psoriasis in an intimate area.

It’s perfectly fine to have a preference for either a male of female doctor. If the practice you go to employs both, you can state your preference when you make the appointment. You can also mention this to the referring doctor in case you have a choice of specialist.

4. You’re worried about information that you found on the Internet.

A lot of information is easily available today on the Internet, but be aware that not all of it is reliable. If you have a specific question about information you’ve found, you can print the specific page and bring it to your doctor. It’s also worth asking whether the websites you’re looking at are reliable: they may be able to recommend other sites.

5. You feel stressed and anxious because your appointment is running late.

While doctors’ practices work in different ways, some may offer both walk-in appointments for urgent issues and a booking system for longer-term patients. Pre-booked sessions are more likely to run on time but it’s always a good idea to be prepared to wait by bringing something to read.

6. You’re concerned after being assigned a new doctor.

All doctors spend time going through new patients’ histories, on-going conditions and treatments. So your new doctor may know more about you than you realise. If you’re really anxious, book an appointment to come and speak to him or her sooner rather than later. The good news is, it may take less time to build up a good relationship with a doctor than you expect.

7. You’re distracted because the doctor is typing during your appointment.

Although this can be annoying, it’s reassuring to know your doctor is documenting what you’re saying so that it’s on record. Still, if you really can’t bear it, politely explain that you find it distracting.

8. You’re wondering if it’s okay to take notes.

There is no problem writing down what your doctor is saying. In fact, your doctor will probably encourage it. They may even have information brochures they can provide to you. Another good idea is to take a partner or close friend to the appointment. They can help you remember the facts and provide emotional support. And, after the appointment, you’ll be able to discuss your condition and treatment with somebody who really understands what you're going through.

The bottom line is, if something matters to you then it matters to your doctor too. So by building a good relationship, and by being open about your concerns, you’ll know that you’re getting the best possible support to manage your psoriasis.