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Chronic Illness Q&A with Dr. B.

Dr. Larry Berkelhammer

Dr. Larry Berkelhammer

The purpose of this blog and the entire website is to provide evidence-based information on how to live with medical self-care mastery. It is for all medical patients, caregivers, and advocates who want to learn how to collaborate with physicians to optimize the efficacy of your medical care.

I post to this blog three times per week. Monday posts are evidence-based published articles. Wednesday posts are videos of webinars or interviews. Friday posts consist of questions about living better with chronic health challenges, and my answers to them.

Here is this week’s question:
QUESTION: Would you say more about how to advocate for ourselves?

ANSWER: Any time you are not getting good care it’s important to express your concerns to your doctor. If you are not heard, find a new doctor. However, if you are a patient in the hospital and not getting proper care, talk to your nurse. If that goes nowhere, talk to the charge nurse or the nurse administrator. If your complaint is with a resident, ask for the chief resident; if that goes nowhere, talk to the attending in charge of your case. If that were to go nowhere—which is highly unlikely, you could even talk to the department head. On rare occasions, savvy, empowered patients have even gone so far as to complain to hospital administration. Most of the time, going up just one level in the chain of command will resolve a problem.

Aside from the fact that speaking up will get you better care, just taking action to fight for your rights will help you feel empowered and more vibrant. You will feel more in control of the situation and your life in general.

My book In Your Own Hands: New Hope for People with Chronic Medical Conditions will help you train your mind to feel more in control of situations and your life, but for pragmatic action-oriented information on becoming an empowered patient in the hospital, read The Empowered Patient by Dr. Julia Hallisy.

This website is offered as a free public service, supplying information that has been found helpful to certain people living with chronic health challenges. No treatment is offered on this website. The advice is general, and may or may not apply to your individual situation, and is not a substitute for psychotherapy or medical treatment.

What questions do you have about how to live better with chronic health challenges that are related to the relationship between states of mind and health?
Just scroll down and type your question in the comment box below. I will post a reply to your comment, but your specific question may not appear in this column. When I get a certain number of related questions, I pick one that covers them all and I answer that one.

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