Understanding the Information
“ I don’t always understand my doctor’s explanations. Should I mention this? ”
Your doctor is under an obligation to give you clear, comprehensible information, and must seek to do so. The aim is to enable you to make an informed decision on whether to pursue a treatment or to act on a medical recommendation. Your doctor must give you up-to-date information, commensurate with your needs. These may vary from one consultation to the next.
- The doctor should find out how much you know already, in order to supplement your information. He or she must allow time to do this. Your role is to be forthcoming about your needs. Conversely, there will be days when you don’t feel like knowing more. Do tell the doctor if this is so!
- Recapitulate to the doctor what you have understood and what remains unclear to you. Don’t hesitate to request further, simpler explanations and a diagram if necessary. Then you can repeat what the doctor says in your own words, and ask if that is what he or she meant.
- Get in touch with a support organization (see List of resources). These associations are not a substitute for the doctor. But they do relay valuable information and provide important psychological support. The people who work for them draw on personal experience and contacts with other patients. This means they are familiar both with the general aspects of your illness and patients’ typical experiences and reactions.
- Find out more from the Internet, and ask your doctor to recommend the most worthwhile websites. Discuss your findings with your doctor so that he or she can adjust the information you have found to your personal circumstances and supplement it where applicable.
Please tell your doctor if the French language poses a problem to you. The doctor will allow more time and may suggest you use an interpreter if necessary (see the practicalities).