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Communicating With Your Provider

Plan Ahead

When you schedule:

  • Explain the reason for the appointment.
  • Request extra time to talk about concerns or issues.

Bring Your List

photo of parent, child and doctor communicating about an asthma action plan

A little organization will help you remember to ask questions and share important information.

Make it Work

Any plan has to work for both you and your child. If your provider gives you something you think you or your child cannot do, ask about other options.

Sometimes office visits are short and things seem rushed. But with a little advance planning, you can get a lot out of even a short visit with your health care provider.

Prepare for the office visit

Take time before your office visit to think about how the conversation will go. There are usually two main categories to discuss:

  1. Information your provider needs.
  2. Your questions or concerns.

Write it down.

Capture the information your provider needs to know, as well as the things you want to discuss.

  1. Information your provider needs: Write down information about your child’s asthma symptoms and what you have done to treat them, the medicines he uses, and your child’s triggers. When your provider asks about these, you will be prepared with answers. If you have an Asthma Action Plan for your child, be sure to bring that as well.
  2. Your questions or concerns: Write down any questions you have so you won’t forget during the appointment. Give the list to your provider at the beginning of the office visit. Remember to ask your provider to complete an Asthma Action Plan if you do not already have one.

The main point is to write it down. By writing it down before your office visit, your information will be more accurate, and you won’t have to rely on your memory.

Organize the list.

Put the most important questions and topics first, or highlight them in some way. Try out the Asthma Checkup Checklist to help organize the information your provider needs to know and give you an easy way to check off questions and concerns as you ask them.

Make it easy for your health care provider to write down instructions.

Prior to your appointment, print a copy of the Asthma Action Plan to give to your child’s health care provider. This will give you a record of what is needed to manage your child’s asthma, a record you can share with others who help care for her.

During the office visit, refer to your list often.

The office visit is your time with your health care provider – time that is dedicated to your child’s asthma management. Now is the time to ask your questions and voice your concerns. When it comes to your child’s health, there are no bad questions! Also, it is your right and responsibility to know what is happening with your child’s health.

Remember that you and your child are the most important members of your child’s asthma team.

That means that you and your child need to understand what you’re supposed to do to manage his asthma. And you also have to feel confident that you can do it. Repeat back or restate your provider’s answers to your questions to make sure you understand the instructions. It’s also helpful to take notes and ask your provider to write instructions out for you. Your Asthma Action Plan is a good place to save these written instructions.

Ask when to get medical care right away for your child.

Some families have trouble knowing when to seek emergency medical help. If you wait too long, your child could need more expensive and complicated care. A delay can also be potentially life-threatening. Ask your provider for instructions and confirm that you understand when to seek emergency care. The best thing to do is have your provider write these instructions on your Asthma Action Plan.

Asthma Triggers
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Learn how controlling triggers can reduce your child’s asthma symptoms.

Asthma Action Plan
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Use this convenient form to help manage your child’s asthma.

Medicine Quiz
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Take this quiz to get answers about your child's asthma medicines.