Living Well: Who’s on your team?
When we think about taking care of our whole selves – body, mind and spirit – and the chronic conditions that are affecting our society today, there is no “one size fits all” approach, nor is there a silver bullet solution or fix to living well.
It is a combination of factors – activities, practitioners and people – that support us in living well. Along these lines, we need to consider who is on our team. Who are our partners? What role do we play?
We are at the center of our own care and play the most critical role; we need to be active, participatory partners in our care. To me, this starts with acknowledging this and taking ownership of our role. Then, we need to find the right partners based on our needs right now… and take action. Keep in mind our partners may not only be our traditional doctors, like our primary care physician or gynecologist; our team members may include massage therapists, acupuncturists, health coaches, yoga teachers, mindfulness meditation guides, therapists and last but not least, our friends and family members. Our overall support team can have a significant effect on our health and well-being.
Be flexible, as your team may change as your needs change. Also, don’t be afraid to ask questions when figuring out who may be a good fit or the right partner for you and your loved ones. Know this is your right as a patient or consumer of healthcare services. In this day and age and in our current healthcare environment, we need to make the most of every minute with our healthcare team. We have to advocate for ourselves and our loved ones.
Talk to Your Doctor
During your first visit or your next visit, share with your healthcare provider that you would like to share in making decisions about your health. Pay attention to how you feel during the visit. Think about these questions:
- Does the provider listen well and answer your questions?
- Can you build a good working relationship with the provider?
- Does the provider use terms you can understand and explain things clearly?
- Does the provider spend enough time with you?
- Does the provider encourage you to take an active part in your care?
Taking care of our whole selves… and our families… takes a village. Who’s in your village or on your healthcare team?