When you visit a specialist for the first time, you will probably have a lot of questions. It helps to write them all down. Bring a pen and paper to take notes. You might also want to bring a tape recorder or a friend or relative to help you understand what your specialist tells you. Do not leave the doctor's office until you understand your situation! If the doctor seems rushed, ask if a nurse or nurse practitioner is available to help answer your questions.
Questions you should ask:
- What is my diagnosis? ("Diagnosis" means the official name of the condition affecting your brain.)
- What is the prognosis? ("Prognosis" refers to the likely outcome of the disease and treatment.)
- What treatment do you recommend?
- What are other possible treatments, and why do you believe they are not right for me?
- What medications will I be taking?
- What are the side effects?
- Where will the procedures take place?
- How long do I have to decide what I would like to do?
- How long until we know if the treatment has been successful?
- What will happen if the treatment does not work?
- Who else will be a part of my treatment team?
- Will I need rehabilitation?
- Do you recommend any support groups or counselors for me or my family?
- Are you available to talk to my family about this diagnosis and treatment?
- Do you have any pamphlets or fact sheets about this diagnosis and treatment?
Yale-New Haven Hospital
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Written by Madeline Roberts Vann, MPH
Reviewed by George T. Grossberg, MD
St. Louis University School of Medicine
Department of Psychiatry