By Dr. John C. Kagan, M.D.
When faced with the diagnosis of osteoarthritis, one of the most important things to remember is that you are not alone. While encouragement and support can come from a variety of individuals, including family and friends, it is important to remember that your doctor can also serve as one of your most valuable relationships during this time. That’s why finding the right doctor is essential to developing a mutually-beneficial relationship and ensuring that you are receiving the best care possible.
At some point in our lives, we all must choose a doctor. From the start of your osteoarthritis journey, this decision becomes increasingly imperative. As an osteoarthritis patient, regular trips to the doctor are a common occurrence, and the need for a healthy doctor-patient relationship is particularly important to ensuring you are making the most of your experience. A successful relationship allows you to attune your care options to match your needs and standards, and provides a trusting support system that will benefit the quality of your care.
Open, honest communication is key to doctor-patient partnerships, and is essential in order for patients to become better informed about their condition. This includes understanding the diagnosis, surgical and non-surgical treatment options, and if surgery is planned, how long the surgery will take as well as recovery. The greater knowledge you have in regards to your health care, the better equipped you are to make the right decisions relating to your treatment. To ensure that you are making the most of your visits to the doctor, consider the following recommendations:
• Come prepared. Make a list of any concerns or questions you may have regarding your condition.
• Take notes during your appointment and ask for clarification if there are any terms or procedures that you do not understand.
• Be open with your medical history and keep a complete list of all medications, including any over-the-counter medications, vitamins or nutritional supplements.
• Ask your doctor for resources that can help you learn about your condition and treatment options.
Key to your health and overall quality of care, you must feel comfortable discussing your condition with your doctor to ensure that they are fully aware of your symptoms so that they can be addressed. Trained professionals understand what you are going through as a patient with osteoarthritis, and they have the knowledge to help you understand your condition, take action to prevent or subdue symptoms and treat your osteoarthritis through medication or surgery. If surgery is necessary, a good relationship will allow you to rest assured, knowing that you are in good hands.
As you manage osteoarthritis, members of your health care team will serve as a strong support system as you monitor the progress of your condition, assess the status of how your body functions with osteoarthritis, and develop a plan of treatment that fits your needs. A strategic pairing can build a healthy doctor-patient relationship and a partnership that is dedicated to the quality of your health.
When looking for a doctor, it is important to learn how you and your condition will be treated, and Dr. John C. Kqagan and his staff are ready to answer all of your questions. Dr. Kagan has more than 30 years of experience as an orthopedic surgeon and sports medicine specialist treating patients in Southwest Florida. He specializes in treating patients with knee, shoulder and hip pain, as well as general orthopedics and hand surgery. For more information, visit www.kaganortho.com or call 239-936-6778.