Throughout my nursing career, I have seen how the lack of accurate and timely education, including knowledge about resources, played a role in Emergency Room visits, hospitalizations and increased hospital stay, and increase in out-of-pocket expenses. Unfortunately, sometimes education departments are the first to go when there are budget cuts, and time constraints and other factors may interfere with quality education. It is important to be familiar with resources within your community and ask the right questions to maintain optimal health. Enjoy your life!
Given your current health condition or circumstance, what resources do you have in your community to support your decision to live a healthier life and to enjoy life to the fullest (smoking cessation group/hotline, domestic violence shelters, food shelters, diabetic support group/Certified Diabetes Educator)? Try your local Department of Health for community programs. Try eatright.org to locate a Registered Dietician in your area if you need assistance with weight loss/meal planning and to help to prevent conditions such as pre-diabetes or diabetes.
Check out Participating Prescription Assistance Programs for local support for medications and local free clinics in your area. Click on the link below this statement or copy and paste the link in your browser.
Did you know that you have the right to receive a copy of your labs? I will never forget when my doctor told me that my cholesterol was fine. After reviewing my labs, I found my cholesterol to be 199 (200 is considered high). I started making changes in my diet even though my doctor did not think it was necessary. She knew I was a nurse.
You do not have to go to your doctor’s appointments by yourself. Take a loved one with you or a relative who is familiar with your condition so that someone can take notes for you or be an extra set of ears. Sometimes the information your doctor tells you can be overwhelming.
Make a list of your concerns to your doctor. Write down your concerns, signs and symptoms you have been having, and any other issues. Your information could be key to diagnosing you early and receiving accurate and timely treatment. Hand your list of concerns to your doctor and have your doctor answer each concern and cross them off as you go. You or your doctor can write the answers down next to each question so that you can refer to your list of questions and answers later.
Did you know that many brand name medications have a low-cost generic equivalent ($4, $5, or less)? Check with Walgreens, Walmart, or any local store to see if the pharmacy carries a low-cost generic version of the medicine your doctor prescribed to you. Better yet, you can go to your pharmacy’s website, print the generic list, and take the list to your doctor. I have included the links to Walgreens and Walmart generic drug list below. Please click on the link or copy and paste the link into browser. Any money saved is money saved.