Become an Advocate for Your Kidney Health
A diagnosis of any kind, including chronic kidney disease, doesn’t come with a manual on how to be a patient. Many patients often feel overwhelmed by their diagnosis and somewhat powerless in their treatment. At Cincinnati Home Dialysis, we believe it is imperative that our patients take an active role in their care. There are several things you can do to become an advocate for your health.
Learn as much as you can
There are many great resources available to you to learn more about every aspect of chronic kidney disease. Your doctor has a wealth of knowledge, so don’t be shy about asking questions, especially when you don’t understand something. Online resources like the National Kidney Foundation are great places to read more about living with kidney disease. If you have questions about what you find or your reading sparks a topic for discussion, print out the article and bring it with you to your next appointment.
Be honest with your care team
When it comes to your healthcare, your doctor is not the only expert in the room. You have the full context of your lifestyle, living situation, finances, and range of symptoms. If your doctor is recommending a lifestyle change that may be challenging for you, speak up. Having an open conversation with your care team about the challenges you face and any reservations you have paves the way to meet in the middle and even helps your doctor connect you with additional resources.
Take charge of communication
It may help to think of your healthcare providers as a team that you are the manager of. Do not assume that every team member has the same information about what’s happening with your care. If your medications change, make sure every team member is aware. If a test comes back with abnormal results, share these results with each of your doctors. Taking a holistic view of your health helps your care team have a clearer sense of what is going on and what paths to take.
When you take an active role in your kidney health and become a key player in the decision-making process, you’ll feel more confident in your treatment plan and are more likely to see positive health outcomes.