10 tips to get ready
Taking a few minutes to prepare for your appointment can be helpful. Particularly if you are feeling nervous or anxious. These tips may help you feel more in control and get the most out of the time you have with your healthcare professional:
1. Have a clear goal
Think about what you are aiming to get out of the appointment. Perhaps you're concerned about side effects, been feeling down or just have some questions. Whatever’s worrying you, you will get much more out of your appointment if you have a clear goal in mind.
2. Write down your questions and take a notepad
Before your appointment, think of all the questions you want to ask and write them down. This will help ensure you do not forget any important questions or concerns that you might have. You should be able to ask as many questions as you want.1 When in the appointment, write down what your doctor says. You could also try recording the appointment (just make sure you ask the doctor's permission before recording).1,2
Writing down any changes, noting when flare ups occur and whether you've noticed anything that might make your psoriasis worse are all important pieces of information that may be useful to your doctor.1,2
3. Be informed about psoriasis
Your doctor should make sure you understand your condition and the treatment options available to you.1,2 However, you might find that reading up about your psoriasis before your appointment can really help. Bear in mind, not all information on the internet is correct. Your doctor should tell you where you can find reliable, high-quality information about your condition on the Internet.1,2
4. Make a list of your medications
Your doctor will know what treatments have been prescribed to you.1,2 But you should tell them about any treatments or supplements you have bought from your pharmacist or alternative therapists. You may find it helpful to make a list of all your treatments.
5. Keep a symptoms diary
Get in the habit of writing down your symptoms and how you have been feeling in general. Noting when flare-ups occur and whether you’ve noticed anything that might make your psoriasis worse are important pieces of information that may be useful to your doctor.1,2 You could include photos of your plaques in your symptom diary. This way the doctor can see how your skin has changed in between appointments.
6. Ask for an extended appointment if necessary
You should have enough time to ask as many questions as you want and you shouldn’t feel rushed.2 If you run out of time, and still have more questions, book another appointment on your way out.1 If you know you have lots of questions before your appointment you could ask the receptionist to book an extended appointment.
7. Ask a friend or relative to go with you
If you’re feeling nervous that you might forget what was said or need emotional support, it is fine to bring a friend or relative with you.1 They can help remind you of any information that might slip your mind.
8. Dress appropriately
Your doctor may need to examine your psoriasis, so think about the clothes that you'll wear to your appointment. Your doctor should give you time to get fully dressed after examining and before talking to you.1 But you may want to choose clothes that are loose and easy to slip on and off. And avoid long rows of buttons. It may also be helpful to proactively show your doctor your psoriasis or tell them where you have it and how it is impacting you so that they understand fully how it is affecting you.
9. Rehearse your appointment
If you feel nervous about your appointment, you can practise what you want to say in advance. This will help build your confidence. You can even role-play the appointment, asking a close friend or family member to play the role of your doctor.
It is up to you how you prepare. Hopefully some of these tips inspire you to think about how you can get ready and make the most of your appointments.
10. Seek out the specialist
Ask if there is a healthcare professional at your surgery who specialises in Dermatology. They are sometimes known as a GP with a Special Interest or Extended Remit. Also ask if there is a Clinical Pharmacist within the practice as they offer treatment reviews. There may be a nurse who can guide you about how to best moisturise your skin or simply be a listening ear if you would like to talk about your psoriasis.
This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your doctor or another qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website
UK/IE MAT-26702 Date of prep: July 2019
- NICE guidance. Experiencing good NHS care: What you can expect. 2012. www.nice.org.uk/guidance/cg138/resources/experiencing-good-nhs-care-what-you-can-expect-pdf-239941498309 (accessed July 2019).
- NICE guidance. Patient experience in adult NHS services: improving the experience of care for people using adult NHS services. 2012.