How to Communicate Symptoms and Treatment Side Effects with your Healthcare Team

This is a sponsored post with Med-IQ.

Recently, I’ve spent a lot of time on social media focusing on wellness and how sometimes our body doesn’t always do what we want it to – or what we expect it to. Recognizing how your body is responding and then communicating symptoms and treatment side effects with your healthcare team is essential. I’m proud to partner with Med-IQ to help generate awareness and ideas on how to communicate effectively with your healthcare team, or to support a loved one in the process.

Med-IQ is an accredited medical education company that provides an exceptional educational experience for physicians, nurses, pharmacists, and other healthcare professionals. 

When Communicating Symptoms and Treatment Side Effects With Your Healthcare Team, there are 3 key points of focus:

 Why reporting side effects/symptoms is important

 Strategies for tracking symptoms/side effects
 When to reach out to your care team

Reporting side effects

While some side effects are minor, or may seem insignificant, it can be difficult to determine that, and they may be a sign of a more serious issue that requires further investigation. Always ask about common side effects, how long they may last, how severe side effects may be, and when you should call for help. 

Your healthcare provider may prescribe medications specifically to try and help prevent or diminish some side effects.

If you are experiencing a side effect that was not mentioned by your care team, keep in mind that doesn’t mean it’s not important and may be very significant.

Strategies that may help in tracking symptoms/side effects

 Writing and keeping track in a notebook what you feel and when it started. That can help keep things clear and lessens the chance for confusion.
 Keep a list of medications, vitamins, and supplements so you and your healthcare team can easily refer to absolutely everything you are taking. This includes OTC (over the counter) medications. 

Reaching out to your healthcare team

Touching base with your healthcare team can save you stress, time, and additional worry. While some side effects can be easily managed, others may need medical attention. Ask your healthcare team when you should seek immediate medical attention such as an emergency room, or should call. Often times, it includes:

• A fever of 100.5°F or higher

• Difficulty breathing

• Trouble swallowing

• Confusion

• Uncontrollable diarrhea

• Swelling in the legs or arms

• Bleeding

Your healthcare team can also guide you in determining which side effects you should call to report and what number you should call after hours, on weekends, or holidays. 

I truly believe it’s better to play it safe than sorry and always advocate as a nurse to encourage patients to communicate as much as they can.

When I look back on my experience as a home health nurse, as my father’s hospice nurse, and as a caregiver for my mom, I recognize how important it is to communicate symptoms and side effects. It may not seem that important at the time, but trusting your gut instinct and providing descriptions of how you feel (mentally, physically, and emotionally) can help foster a better treatment experience by managing side effects and dealing with anything that comes along.

Family members and friends can offer lots of support, but it’s always best to speak directly with your healthcare team. Being on both sides as the patient’s family and as a nurse, the single most important factor in guiding your treatment and how it is managed is through communication. 

I was compensated by Med-IQ through educational grants from AbbVie, Astellas, and Genentech to write about communicating symptoms and treatment side effects with the healthcare team. All opinions are my own.

Med-IQ is conducting a survey and would appreciate your input. The survey, which includes additional education on this topic, will take less than 15 minutes to complete. Survey responses are anonymous and will be shared only in aggregate. 

Your responses to these survey questions will provide Med-IQ with important information about your experiences with cancer symptoms, treatment-related side effects, and your care team, which will help us develop future educational initiatives for healthcare providers to improve care. Once you’ve completed the survey, you will be asked to provide your email address if you’d like to be entered into a drawing administered by SOMA Strategies to win 1 of 5 $100 VISA gift cards. If you choose to enter, your email address will not be sold, kept, or stored; email addresses are used only to randomly draw the winners and notify them of their prize.

By | 2019-06-01T16:40:48+00:00 May 19th, 2019|Health|0 Comments

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