Alert For Healthcare Consumers: Advocating for Yourself & Avoiding Medical Gaslighting

February 8, 2024
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In the world of healthcare, being an educated consumer and a good advocate for yourself is crucial. Many people encounter challenges when seeking care and may need help navigating the complexities of the healthcare system. With the right knowledge, you can ensure your health concerns are heard and addressed. According to a recent article published on Healthline.com, titled "10 Tips for How to Advocate for Yourself at the Doctor" here are some of the tips consumers should consider prior to seeking non-emergency medical attention:

Tips for Being Your Own Advocate & Making Informed Healthcare Decisions:

Know Before You Go: Be aware that not all urgent care facilities are staffed by doctors. Before seeking medical attention, research the facility and its staff credentials. Knowing where to go for appropriate care can save you time and ensure you receive the level of expertise you need.

Be Polite but Firm:  When interacting with healthcare professionals, maintain a respectful demeanor while clearly communicating your concerns and preferences. Ask questions about potential risks, side effects, and alternative treatment options. Remember, you have the right to be fully informed and actively involved in decisions about your care.

Follow Up: After any medical visit, especially emergency room visits, always follow up with your primary care physician. The ER may focus on immediate issues, but ongoing care and monitoring are essential for your overall health and well-being.

Carry Medication and Allergy Information: Keep a list of all your medications and allergies with you at all times. This information can be critical in emergencies and ensures that healthcare providers have accurate information about your medical history.

Advocate for Yourself: If you feel uncomfortable or overlooked in a healthcare setting, speak up. If you're placed in a waiting area unsuitable for your condition, politely request a more appropriate location. Remember, you are the customer, and your comfort and well-being matter.

What is Medical Gaslighting? 

 "Medical gaslighting" is a disturbing phenomenon where concerns about your healthcare are dismissed or minimized by a medical professional. This is unfortunately common, especially among marginalized groups. Recognizing the signs of medical gaslighting and knowing how to advocate for yourself are crucial steps in ensuring you receive the care you deserve. According to a recent article published by CNBC.com, titled "How to recognize 'medical gaslighting' and better advocate for yourself at your next doctor's appointment", below is a list of tips for spotting medical gaslighting and advocating for yourself during medical appointments:

Spotting Medical Gaslighting:  It is important that you pay attention to certain actions by your medical provider, such as:

  • Dismissing and refusing to discuss your symptoms
  • Trying to convince you "It's all in your head"
  • Don't listen to their patients and constantly interrupt you
  • Blame symptoms on age, stress or obesity without further intervention

Keep In Mind for Your Next Healthcare Appointment:

Advocate During Appointments: Prepare for appointments by making notes about your symptoms and concerns. Bring a trusted companion to provide support and validation. If you have questions, ask and make sure you have clarity regarding the information your healthcare provider is given you.  Don't hesitate to seek a second opinion or switch healthcare providers if necessary.

Practice Mindfulness: Utilize mindfulness techniques to stay focused and calm during appointments. Practices such as breathing exercises or finger-tapping can help reduce stress and anxiety, enabling you to advocate for yourself more effectively.

Being your own medical advocate requires assertiveness, preparation, and persistence. By arming yourself with knowledge and taking an active role in your care, you can navigate the healthcare system with confidence and ensure that your voice is heard. Remember, your health is your most valuable asset, and you deserve nothing less than the best care possible.


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