Communicating with Health Professionals

When you are ill you need to talk with health professionals. Talking openly is important. It will help you to understand what is happening. It will help with your concerns. It might be helpful to tell health professionals that you have a carer that looks after you. Do not be afraid to ask questions, health professionals are there to help you.

You may find that there are many health professionals involved in caring for you. This can mean having many conversations about your medical condition. There are some things that might help:

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  • Ask if you can talk to just one or two professionals. This will help to avoid repeating things and may help to reduce any confusion.
  • You may not want certain people to be aware of what is happening. Let health professionals know who they can and can't share your information with.
  • Older people and younger people communicate differently. In your culture, one of your family may act as your representative. Tell a health professional if someone is to act on your behalf. Make sure that what is happening is what you wish to happen.
  • It is important that you know what is happening and what to expect. If you don’t understand something let them know, say ‘Can we stop, I don’t quite follow.’
  • If you have questions write them down and take them with you to any appointments. Make another appointment if you have more questions to ask or think of new ones.

Some questions you or your carer might want to ask the health team include:

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  • What is the prognosis? How long do you think I/they have left to live?
  • What sort of care will be required from now until death?
  • Who are the members of the palliative care team and will this change over time?
  • How do I contact the palliative care team?
  • What symptoms will there be?
  • What is the cause of the symptoms?
  • What can be done to improve any symptoms?
  • Can you help to control the pain?
  • Can you tell me about the physical, emotional, and other symptoms the person I am caring for might have in the future?
  • Who should I talk to if things are not going well?
  • Who can I call in an emergency?
  • What support and services are available?
  • Who can help me to provide care at home?



Fact Sheets

Last updated 31 August 2020