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    Questions to Ask the Doctor

    En español | Trips to the doctor’s office can leave you harried and overwhelmed. As a result, important questions can be forgotten. Here is a list of suggested questions to consider bringing with you to your loved one’s next appointment.

    See also: How to talk effectively with health care providers.


    Here are the symptoms my mother is experiencing. What could be causing them?


    • What illness or condition does/could my loved one have?
    • How is the condition or illness diagnosed?
    • What are the treatment options?
    • What is the most effective treatment?
    • What are the causes of this condition or illness?
    • What is likely to happen with and without treatment?
    • Are there common complications associated with this illness or condition?


    • What is the name of the medicine you are prescribing?
    • What is its benefit?
    • Is a generic drug available?
    • What are the risks and side effects?
    • How often should my loved one take the drug?
    • How long should he take the drug?
    • What foods, other medicines or activities should he avoid while taking this drug?
    • Could this medicine interact with any medications he’s currently taking?

    Diet and Exercise

    • Are there foods that my loved one should avoid?
    • Should my loved one eat more of a certain type of food?
    • Do you recommend vitamins or supplements?
    • How often should my loved one exercise?
    • What types of exercise are safe?
    • What types of exercise are not safe?


    • Are tests necessary?
    • What will they show?
    • What preparation is needed?
    • When will we get the results?
    • What do the test results mean?

    Next: Questions about costs»


    • Why does my loved one need surgery?
    • How is the surgery performed?
    • Where will the surgery be performed?
    • Are there alternatives to surgery?
    • What risks are associated with this operation?
    • What kind of anesthesia will be used?
    • What is the average recovery time?
    • How much experience do you have performing this type of surgery?


    • What costs can we expect?
    • Will my loved one’s insurance cover this test or treatment?
    • What can we do to reduce costs?

    Written Instructions

    • Do you have any written information that we can take home?

    Follow-Up Care

    • Is a follow-up visit necessary?
    • If so, when should we follow up?
    • If we think of questions later, how can we contact you?

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