Tools and Programs
Clinical visits are supposed to revolve around your issues, needs and goals but we know they often don't. It is easy to look around at your visit which is scheduled for an ever shrinking amount of time and takes place in a space where a computer has been placed between you and the clinician, and assume that the story about what is causing you anxiety or joy isn't welcome. But if it is important to you, if it is affecting your life, it belongs in your visit. Our goal is to help provide patients and caregivers with the tools and support to be full partners in those clinical conversations. See what we are working on. If you have ideas or would like to bring these tools to your larger community, reach out.
One thing that helps make it easier to share stories with your clinician is to practice. We've created the Plan Your Conversation tool to help you think through what you want to say.
Step 1: The cards ask you to complete 5 statements.
- I want to talk about...
- It is important to me because...
- It may help you to know...
- I hope this conversation leads to...
- I worry this conversation will lead to...
Step 2: Practice sharing the story with someone else or at least say it outloud to yourself.
Step 3: Share with your clinician!
Download Plan Your Conversation Cards (in English) (PDF)
Download Plan Your Conversation Cards (in Spanish) (PDF)
Spend a few minutes filling out this worksheet and share it with your doctor at your next visit.
- What is one non-medical thing about your life you think your doctor should know?
- What is one thing your doctor is asking you to do for your health that feels like a burden or feels harder than it should?
- What is one thing your doctor is asking you to do for your health that is helping you feel better?
- Where do you find the most joy in your life?
Download Reflection Document (in English) (PDF)
Sometimes the thing that keeps us from speaking up in the doctor's office isn't obvious. Think about a recent visit you had with the doctor or nurse. Think about you did or didn't say. Review our barrier cards. Which ones you think impacted that visit?
Download Barrier Cards (in English) (PDF)
Download Barrier Cards (in Spanish) (PDF)
Imagine if a few times a year you met at a friend's house or at the local library (or online!) to spend some time thinking, feeling and talking about health issues. This isn't a lecture from a doctor or other expert offering advice. This is an opportunity for you to hear about what is known about a health topic along with an acknowledgement of what isn't and a chance to start the process of considering what that means to you and how it might impact the decisions you make about your health.
We've been experimenting with events like this around the country. Our first topic is Breast Cancer Risk and Mammography Screening for women in their 40s. Women have hosted the events in their homes and at the public library inviting people from their peer network. After attending as a participant, some women offer to host their own events. (We call this method the Tupperware party approach.) We are looking at ways to expand our ability to facilitate more events around the country. If you have ideas or would like to partner, let us know.
Cost is one of the most difficult topics for patients, caregivers and clinicians to talk about. We've gathered together all our tools that consider cost and are developing other tools to help make it easier. You can find them on our Let's talk about $ resource guide.