Questions to Ask Brain Specialists

Questions to Ask About Your Diagnosis

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:

  1. What is my diagnosis? ("Diagnosis" means the official name of the condition affecting your brain.)
  2. What is the prognosis? ("Prognosis" refers to the likely outcome of the disease and treatment.)
  3. What treatment do you recommend?
  4. What are other possible treatments, and why do you believe they are not right for me?
  5. What medications will I be taking?
  6. What are the side effects?
  7. Where will the procedures take place?
  8. How long do I have to decide what I would like to do?
  9. How long until we know if the treatment has been successful?
  10. What will happen if the treatment does not work?
  11. Who else will be a part of my treatment team?
  12. Will I need rehabilitation?
  13. Do you recommend any support groups or counselors for me or my family?
  14. Are you available to talk to my family about this diagnosis and treatment?
  15. Do you have any pamphlets or fact sheets about this diagnosis and treatment?

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Yale-New Haven Hospital


Written by Madeline Roberts Vann, MPH

Reviewed by George T. Grossberg, MD

St. Louis University School of Medicine

Department of Psychiatry