It is important to learn how to manage your appointments and work with your doctor or other health professionals.
Here are some tips for managing your appointments as an adult:
- Before you go to an appointment, plan ahead and know what you need to take to the appointment.
- Write down your concerns and questions ahead of time.
- Think about how you will get there and plan your route.
- Give yourself enough travel time.
- Check the building access and parking and let them know if you need help with access.
- If you cannot attend an appointment, then phone and cancel or reschedule your appointment as early as you can because it may take a while to get another appointment.
- If you have a phone, enter appointments into your phone calendar and set reminder alerts to help you remember.
- Keep track of the names of your healthcare team.
- Keep phone numbers for your doctor and other health professionals in your phone contacts or in a notebook.
- Keep your medical card with you. It can be helpful to have a photo of your medical card in your phone if you have one.
- Keep a list of your medication with you. It can be helpful to have a photo of your medications in your phone if you have one.
- Bring a support person such as a family member or friend if you would like someone to support you. You can ask them to wait outside if you want to discuss something personal with your health professional.
- Bring any relevant equipment you use with you.
- You may want to bring paper and a pencil to take notes to read later. Or you may want to record notes in your phone or ask the person who is supporting you to take notes.
When you see your health professional, talk to them and know that you can ask questions if you want to. You know best about your health and don’t be afraid to speak up. Write down questions before going to an appointment. Practise introducing yourself and asking questions with a parent, friend or someone else you trust if it makes you feel more confident before going to the appointment.
When you finish your appointment, you may be expected to make another appointment. Ask when you need to see the professional again and how far in advance you need to call for an appointment.
Developing a relationship with your GP
A GP helps to manage new (non-emergency) or ongoing conditions or general health concerns. GPs have general knowledge about a range of different medical issues and provide care for many different health problems in all age groups. Some GPs have a particular interest or expertise in certain health conditions.
Your GP is usually the first health professional to contact if you are unwell (in non-emergency cases). Your GP is also usually the point of contact between you and health professionals in the hospital or community. Your GP can communicate with specialists, refer you to other health professionals such as physiotherapists, and link you to other supports.
It is important to have a regular GP who you trust and feel comfortable with because your GP will help you manage your healthcare.
It is particularly important to have a good relationship with your GP when you have cerebral palsy because you may be transferred from child services to your GP, rather than a specific adult service. Having a good relationship with your GP may help you feel more comfortable to talk openly and ask questions about your health needs and personal issues.
Consider making an appointment with your GP before you transfer from child services so they can get to know you and understand your needs.
Finding a new GP
If you don’t have a regular GP, you should find one and start to build a relationship with them during transition.
To help you find a GP you can:
- Ask your current health professionals for recommendations
- Ask the health service of the area you live in for advice
- Ask other adults who have CP
- Ask about accessibility needs if applicable. For example:
> Will you be able to physically access the building’s car park, paths, entrance, hallways, bathrooms, waiting area, exam rooms and exam tables?
> Is there a ramp, lift or stairs?
> Is there a wheelchair height desk at reception?
> Is there any special equipment like grab bars or a hoist?
> Can the office provide assistance with transfers?
> Can they provide other accommodations such as waiting in a quiet area rather than the busy waiting room?
- Ask if you can make a longer appointment if necessary
- Ask about opening hours and waiting times
- Ask questions about a GP’s expertise, interests, extra qualifications and experience with conditions that might be relevant to you
- Ask if your GP will accept you as a patient with expenses covered by your medical card.
Looking after health equipment
As an adult, you will look after your health equipment and assistive devices. This includes:
- Cleaning it regularly
- Checking it for damage
- Knowing who to contact if it needs to be fixed or replaced
Before you leave child services, you should find out about the equipment you use and the equipment you might need to use in the future. Some questions you might ask your parents and/or health professionals are:
- The name of the equipment you use and any key requirements
- How to service your equipment
- When your equipment needs to be replaced
- Who to contact if you need new or replacement equipment
- How long it usually takes to arrive
- Who pays for it