Talking With Your Doctor In The Hospital

Sometimes it’s hard for patients and loved ones alike to try to talk with the doctor while in the hospital. In some cases, you may not be awake or fully alert during a doctor’s normal rounds. Further, loved ones often waste countless hours in the hospital room so they can talk with the doctor, not knowing when—or if—the doctor will visit that day. This can cause needless stress for both patient and family.

The following options may improve communication with your doctor while in the hospital:

Notebook. Keep a notebook and pen in your hospital room so that you or a loved one can take notes and jot down questions as you think of them. Then you will have them ready so you can talk about them during the doctor’s visit. Loved ones can also write notes to the doctor in case they cannot be present during his/her visit.

Recording device. Keep a recording device in the room, and ask the doctor if it is OK to record your conversations so that your loved ones can be kept informed of the details, since they can’t always be there. Also, if medication or some other reason prevents you from being fully alert all the time, explain to the doctor that you’d like to be able to replay the conversations later when you’re better able to understand them.

Schedule a meeting. If you or a loved one needs to talk with the doctor about a special or urgent concern, call the doctor’s office and schedule a specific time when the doctor can meet with you in the hospital. This can keep you from wasting your time and the doctor’s, and can help reduce the stress of waiting. You also can ask your nurse to have the doctor paged if a loved one will only be available at a certain time.

Schedule a phone call. If the loved one can’t meet the doctor at the hospital, ask the doctor to call your loved one at home or work at an agreed upon time. It is best if you select only one family spokesperson to interact with your doctor.

Send an e-mail. If you or your loved ones need information, find out if you can send your doctor an e-mail with questions or concerns.