Managing your health is something you can do.
By being active and informed about your health, and aware of the healthcare options, you can make the most informed decisions for your needs and for those you care for.
There are six key areas for you to consider when managing your healthcare.
- Preparation and research.
- Making decisions on treatment and care.
- Communicating openly and honestly.
- Monitoring health and setting goals.
- Understanding healthcare costs and payment.
- And seeking help and support.
Being prepared includes taking the things you need to your healthcare appointment, including a list of questions you want your healthcare professional to answer.
Being prepared is also about seeking reliable health information to educate yourself about your health issues or medical conditions.
If taking medication, take time to understand your medication, including what it is specifically for, any special instructions, and potential side effects.
When researching, seek out reliable sources such as from pamphlets at a doctor surgery, pharmacies, and community health centres.
Government endorsed health websites and apps such as Better Health Channel, are also a reliable source of health information.
When making healthcare decisions, talk with your medical team in depth, and make sure you fully understand your options and the benefits and risks.
Ask a doctor for a second opinion if you are unsure about your doctor's suggested medical treatment or a diagnosis.
Planning includes setting goals for your health or healthcare combined with the ability to monitor your progress.
When planning for the future, it is important to be realistic about your future health and discuss this with your doctor.
Incorporating preventative measures into your plan, such as visiting you doctor for regular health checks, or improving diet and physical activity levels, are also important to overall wellbeing.
If taking medication, it is good practice to schedule time to review medications with your doctor.
Monitoring the changes in signs and symptoms you experience is also important.
And make sure you see your doctor when you first notice symptoms.
Open and honest doctor-patient communication is an important step in building trust.
Some healthcare issues may be difficult to discuss.
However, healthcare professionals are trained to deal with sensitive issues, and the different cultural needs of the people in their care.
If you see more than one healthcare professional, it helps to tell each of them about the other treatments you are having, or medication you are taking,
including over the counter, vitamins, and herbal supplements.
Your general practitioner, GP, is often the best person to coordinate all your healthcare treatments.
Healthcare costs will vary depending on the kind of treatment you are getting, whether you have private health cover, and what government services you are eligible for.
You can get a wide range of free and subsidised healthcare services through the Medicare system.
It is recommended that you ask about the fees for seeing a healthcare provider before you make an appointment.
By planning, managing, and coordinating your healthcare, you can get the best from the range of health services and options available to you.
For more information, visit: betterhealth.vic.gov.au/planning