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Multiple Sclerosis: Getting and Managing
Health Care Needs

By Grace Curry

(Page 3 of 3)

When you made your list, and noted your initial assessments, you will soon see where problems areas currently exist, or may become a problem in the future. Next you will need to determine which items on your list are of greatest importance. Prioritize the list. In many cases you will not be able to take care of everything on the list initially. Realistically there is just not enough time for your health care provider to address each separate issue at one time. However letting the doctor know you are monitoring all these areas will go a long way to showing him or her that you are being proactive in the health care planning of those in your care. 

It is possible that your health care provider may not take you seriously or may dismiss some of your concerns as minor, or seem unwilling to listen to you. They may feel overwhelmed by all your concerns, and feel at a loss to help you. Personally, I have found that in some cases the health care provider is not exactly responsive to my needs because some physicians still feel they are the ones to make the assessments and get defensive when I would question recommendations or request specific options. Not all doctors continue to have this outlook. It is important to realize that you and your loved one do not need to maintain the services of any health care professional if they are not providing what you need. Remember health care providers should be doing just that. Providing for health care. Anything less gives you the right to select another provider. This is one of the more unpleasant responsibilities of a caregiver, knowing when it is time to look for a new health care provider. 

If you find you are having a problem communicating with a provider, or are seeking the help of an outside agency such as a consumer advocate agency or customer service organization, be sure to make all your requests in writing and keep copies of everything. Hopefully you will not have to go through this, however it is better to be prepared just in case you need the information at some later date. Frequently the heart of the problem lies more with the managed care system or insurance company than it does with the doctor. Many of the doctors I speak with tell me how frustrated they get when they are prevented from follow through due to some restriction placed on them. Keeping positive lines of communication open with your health care provider may prevent some of these problems. In the end it falls to the caregivers to continue to be an advocate to those in their care. Demonstrate your resolve to get the best quality care for your loved one through patience and facts. You will not make it a perfect world, but you will be better equipped to deal with the challenges that need to be faced for years to come.


Grace Curry is a caregiver and works in the health care field. Comments can be sent to

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