Doctor appointments may not always go as planned. It’s important to use this time wisely. Be sure to talk to your physician about all the ways your psoriasis impacts you, but sometimes—for many different reasons—it can be hard to open up and have this intimate conversation. Ideally, your doctor should be the best person to talk to when it comes to your psoriasis. By using the following tips to make the most out of your visit, you can help make your appointment a success and deepen your partnership with your doctor.
1. Be Clear About Your Treatment Goals
Aligning with your doctor about your treatment goals at the start of the appointment is an important step for both of you. It may seem obvious to say that you want clear skin or you’re looking for relief from symptoms like itching or flaking, but this information can help set the stage for your entire treatment journey. Remember: You have a say in what you want to get out of your treatment.
2. Be Prepared
Keep a running list of questions in an easily accessible place (on your phone, in your purse, in your wallet) so you can ensure you have your talking points at the ready. If you’re not sure where to start or need some tips building your list, see our Doctor Discussion Guide! In addition to keeping a running list of questions, taking pictures of your skin can be helpful when you’re discussing your questions later on.
3. Be Specific
It’s important to be specific when giving your doctor updates on the status of your psoriasis and any changes since your last appointment. This includes details about your previous and current treatment – let them know what worked and what didn’t, and be honest about if you’ve been sticking to your treatment plan. Don’t assume your doctor can read your body language or can sense how your symptoms and treatment are impacting you. Clear communication is an important part of any relationship, even the one with your doctor!
4. Check Your Understanding of Psoriasis
If you were asked to explain what psoriasis is and exactly how it works, could you? It’s okay if the answer is no. Though these basic questions may seem too simple for your doctor, it’s important for you to have a basic understanding of your disease. Having an accurate understanding of how your disease works can help improve disease management techniques and outcomes.1 Looking for more information on psoriasis? See here.
5. Ask About Reliable Sources of Information
Ask your doctor about specific websites, pamphlets or patient advocacy groups that they recommend. These resources can provide you with more information and help you connect with others in your community who also have psoriasis.
6. Be Transparent About How You’re Feeling
Psoriasis is much more than a skin disease. Yes, your treatment may be working and your skin improving over time, but it’s important to let your doctor know how you’re feeling and how your psoriasis impacts your daily life —physically, mentally, and emotionally.
7. Bring a Trusted Family Member or Friend
Whether you feel overwhelmed with the amount of information you’re receiving or just feel more at ease with someone else in the room, you can always ask a trusted friend or family member to attend an important appointment with you. Never underestimate the power of emotional support.
8. Remember: Your Psoriasis is Unique
While it’s helpful to do your own research and connect with others who have psoriasis for advice– remember that because psoriasis is a complicated disease, what works for others may not work for you, and vice versa. Don’t let something you read online or heard from a friend prevent you from trying it or discussing it your doctor. It is important to work closely with your doctor about the right psoriasis management plan for you.
9. Keep Asking the Same Questions. Then Ask Them Again.
Current research, disease management techniques, and available treatment options are constantly changing. Don’t feel like you can’t ask something because you’ve asked the same question at a previous appointment or already asked another doctor.
10. Don’t Settle if a Question Goes Unanswered
Don’t feel scared to ask, “I don’t understand, can you explain it further?” You have the right to demand the information you need to make sure you’re getting the best care possible to feel confident in your skin.
These quick tips may seem simple, but they can help you make the most of an appointment with your dermatologist. Get more information on how to get clear with your doctor here.
1. Mayo Clinic. Psoriasis – Diagnosis & treatment. (2019, March 13). Accessed on June 25, 2019, from https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/psoriasis/diagnosis-treatment/drc-20355845
You deserve to feel confident in your skin, but how do you have a clear conversation about your psoriasis goals with your doctor? Sometimes speaking up can be the hardest part.
Be clear about your goals. The power to speak up, feel confident and demand the best care is within you. Sharing your story could be your next step to feeling free from psoriasis—and possibly inspire others to do the same.