8 Mar 2022

Self-advocacy for your health and wellbeing

Seniors Living
It’s easy to be overwhelmed in a doctor’s office as they discuss test results or procedures with you.

Sometimes there is a lot of information in a short amount of time, and we all can forget to ask questions. Choosing Wisely Australia has developed a checklist that covers all the important questions for when you next visit your health care professional. Use these 5 questions* to ask your doctor or other healthcare provider to make sure you end up with the right amount of care — not too much and not too little.

1. Do I really need this test, treatment or procedure?

Tests may help you and your doctor or other health care provider determine the problem. Treatments, such as medicines, and procedures may help to treat it.

2. What are the risks?

Will there be side effects to the test or treatment? What are the chances of getting results that aren’t accurate? Could that lead to more testing, additional treatments or another procedure?

3. Are there simpler, safer options?

Are there alternative options to treatment that could work? Lifestyle changes, such as eating healthier foods or exercising more, can be safe and effective options.

4. What happens if I don't do anything?

Ask if your condition might get worse — or better — if you don’t have the test, treatment or procedure right away.

5. What are the costs?

Costs can be financial, emotional or a cost of your time. Where there is a cost to the community, is the cost reasonable or is there a cheaper alternative? Remember to keep in touch with your care manager when your health or care needs change or as new health conditions are diagnosed. This will help ensure your care plan can be updated to reflect your needs.


*Adapted from material developed by Consumer Reports. Under license from the ABIM Foundation.