Millions of Canadians struggle with the impact of having psoriasis and some have even given up hope. In fact, 47% of Psoriasis patients have not seen a healthcare provider in the past 12 months for their psoriasis. To make matters worse, there is a decline in the number of dermatologists across Canada and getting in to see one can be a difficult process. Many patients wait a minimum of 6 weeks in urban areas and much longer ( up tp 2 years!) for those that reside in a rural community.
It's about you
When you finally have an appointment, it is important to ensure that you can make the most of the very limited time you may get with your dermatologist. Follow these simple steps so you can leave your appointment armed with the information and advice that you came for.
Before your Appointment:
Your medical history is an important piece for your dermatologist. Do your homework and write down your history and any concerns that you may have before going to your appointment. This will save you time and will give you confidence that you have provided your dermatologist with all the critical information he or she requires. Make a list of :
- your current medications
- your symptoms and when you began experiencing them, and whether they have worsened or improved.
- Your questions you have about your condition
- Always take a note pad and pen and take notes. You will be glad to have the information after your appointment to refer back to and you avoid forgetting anything important.
- Take a trusted friend or relative with you – they will be able to help you remember what was said.
During your appointment:
It is important to have an open flow of communication with your dermatologist – you want to be sure that you have all your questions answered in a way that you understand and that you leave your dermatologist's office satisfied that you have all that you need. Don't be afraid to ask for clarification if you don't understand something, or ask for it be explained again more simply.
- Be sure to ask what the long and short term effects are of your diagnosis.
- Be sure to ask how the proposed treatments are likely to affect you, what side effects there may be and what lifestyle changes may be necessary to ensure a positive outcome.
- Ask your dermatologist to write down any instructions to you so you can have them to reference in the future – ask for clarification for anything you are uncertain about.
- Repeat back to your dermatologist the key points of your discussion to be sure you have everything.
- Ask your dermatologist if there are any printed resources or internet sites that can be shared with you about your Psoriasis
- If you are not comfortable with the proposed treatment plan, say so! It is important to be honest with your doctor so that you can find a treatment plan that works for you.
- Before you leave, be sure to review your list and make sure that you have covered everything you planned. Unanswered questions could lead to delay as a future appointment may be weeks or even months away.
As is true for most things in life, preparation is key. Taking the time prepare for your appointment in advance will allow you to engage in a meaningful discussion with your dermatologist. You will come away ready to put your prevention and treatment plan into action!
What else can you do?
• Sign up for our Psoriasis newsletter
• Visit our website to stay up to date on the latest Psoriasis Research and find out what new medications are in the pipeline
• Get involved with the Canadian Association of Psoriasis Patients – Patient volunteers are critical to helping us together improve the lives of those Canadians living with psoriasis.
Look at this Intersting Infographic that outlines how Psoriasis and Psoriatic Arthritis affets patients lives.