Alert
Close

Join the Drive to End Hunger! Watch the NASCAR race on Sunday at Kansas Speedway.

HIGHLIGHTS

Open
10,000 Games Galore Sweepstakes from AARP
Celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month

AUTO BUYING PROGRAM

AARP Auto Buying Program

Download the ipad App

AARP-iPad-ePub-app

DRIVER SAFETY

Piggy bank on the road - AARP Driver Safety

Take the new AARP Smart Driver Course!

Contests and
Sweeps

Safe Driving in 2014 Sweepstakes

Learn how AARP Driver Safety can help you stay safe—and enter for a chance to win $1,000. See official rules. 

KEEP BRAIN ACTIVE!

AARP Games - Play Now!

AARP BOOKS

Planning for Long-Term Care for Dummies

Get expert advice on planning for your own or a relative’s future care needs.

Webinars

Learn From the Experts

Sign up now for an upcoming webinar or find materials from a past session.

Learning centers

Get smart strategies for managing health conditions.

 

Arthritis

Heart Disease

Diabetes

Most Popular

Viewed

Nothing has been viewed

share your thoughts

What does the health care law mean to you? Your story is important. We read and learn from every story and it helps us in our educational efforts. We may even use your comments (with permission) to brief legislators, inspire readers and more. Please share your story with us. Do

Ask the Tough Questions

Don't leave your doctor's office without the answers you need

Be a smart questioner

At the doctor’s office:

  • Experts suggest that patients go to an appointment with a set of questions or perhaps even e-mail or fax them ahead of time. “If you have a lot of questions, call the office to say that you may need a little more time,” says Gloria Lopez-Cordle, author of The Personal Medical Journal.
  • Ask whether your doctor has washed his or her hands before starting to examine you.
  • Ask your doctor to draw pictures if it might help you understand.
  • Ask for written instructions.
  • Ask for permission to bring a tape recorder to help you remember them.

Questions to ask:

  • How will this new medicine help me?
  • What is the prescription? Does it have a brand or generic name?
  • What is the dosage?
  • What are the side effects? If I have a bad reaction or worrisome side effects, whom should I call, and when?
  • Are there any food or drinks I should avoid while taking it?
  • Can I take this medicine with any allergies I may have?
  • Is it safe to take the medicine with other vitamins, herbs or supplements I take?

Be your own advocate in the hospital

  • Don’t be shy about asking your care providers if they’ve washed their hands.
  • Make sure your doctors and nurses check your name or wristband before giving your medicine or performing any procedures.
  • If you have an IV drip, ask the hospital caregiver how long it should take for the liquid to run out.
  • Ask about having an antibiotic before surgery
  • When you leave the hospital, ask what further tests should be done, who should schedule them and when to schedule a follow-up exam.
  • Before you leave the hospital, ask what signs or symptoms should prompt you to call for a doctor’s visit.

Bring a friend

  • Take a family member, friend or caregiver with you to provide support, and to step in if necessary.

Cathie Gandel is a freelance writer based in New York.

You may also like: Avoid a roundtrip ticket to the hospital. >>

Topic Alerts

You can get weekly email alerts on the topics below. Just click “Follow.”

Manage Alerts

Processing

Please wait...

progress bar, please wait

Tell Us WhatYou Think

Please leave your comment below.

Discounts & Benefits

From companies that meet the high standards of service and quality set by AARP.

Reading eyeglasses eyemed 6 membership benefit health

Members save 25% on orders of $200 or more and get 25% off lens upgrades at glasses.com.

AARP/Walgreens Wellness Bus Stops in Clarksdale, MS

Members can get exclusive points offers from Walgreens and Duane Reade.

Member Benefits

Join or renew today! AARP members receive exclusive member benefits & affect social change.

Rewards for Good

Your Points Balance:

Learn More

Earn points for completing free online activities designed to enrich your life.

Find more ways to earn points

Redeem your points to save on merchandise, travel, and more.

Find more ways to redeem points