Part of becoming an adult means learning how to advocate for yourself, and learning to talk about your concerns or health needs in a clear and polite way that gets your message across.
Here are some tips that may help:
- Learn how to explain your health condition clearly. Practice speaking about your health condition with a parent, friend, or someone else you trust.
- Write down your concerns or questions before you go to your healthcare provider. It reminds you to talk about them at your appointment.
- Ask whatever questions you need answers to. It is your body and you need all the information to make informed decisions about your health.
- Keep track of all your doctors, nurses, and other healthcare providers including who you see, when you see them, and what you talked about.
- Stay calm and polite, but assert yourself to get the support or information you need.
- Speak up if you don’t agree with your healthcare provider. You are the boss of your own healthcare; no one knows your body better than you do.
If you think you have communicated clearly but do not feel the healthcare provider ‘heard’ you, or you do not agree with the choices for treatment, you can get a second opinion. For more information or support, you can contact Patient Concerns and Feedback or Alberta Health Advocates.
It can also be frustrating when you want to feel heard, but you feel that all you are getting is advice. Do not be afraid to ask others to just listen and be supportive.