I’m taking part in the 7th annual Diabetes Blog Week, which runs from 16th to 20th May. Founded by Karen at Bitter Sweet Diabetes. Today's topic is The Healthcare Experience Most people who live with a chronic illness end up with a lot of experience when it comes to dealing with health care. How would you improve or change your healthcare experience? What would you like to see happening during medical visits with your healthcare team? How about when dealing with your health insurance companies? What's your Healthcare Wish List or Biggest Frustration? Today is the day to share it all!
I think I’m one of those few people who has changed my diabetes healthcare team more than the average person with diabetes. My current count is 7 clinics/endos. Is that a lot? It feels like a lot!
I could tell you all the things that have been said to me that made me walk from all those clinics/endos but that’s just too depressing. Instead I am going to focus on what my ideal clinic appointment would be like.
Over the years, I have collected a few requirements that I liked from each clinic/consultant to compile my “wish list” of how I would like my appointments to go. It goes something like this;
- Parking - you would think that when they built these giant hospitals, or even now that they are redeveloping them that they would build the multi storey car park first?!? I spent 40 minutes one day driving around until I got a space in a housing estate about ¼ mile away. IT'S A NIGHTMARE!!!
- The Waiting Room - I recognise that not waiting at all is a bit too much to ask, so wouldn’t it be nice if the waiting room was more sociable? I mean it’s a mini-support group right there. And what if there was tea and coffee available? I drive 1 hour to my clinic - I’d kill for a cuppa! There isn’t even a vending machine at most clinics I”ve gone too.
- The person who does the health checks should identify him/herself as what she is, as well as her name. Sometimes it's a nurse, sometimes its a healthcare assistant - I would like to know.
- The doctor-in-training I see next, I would like them to listen more, I know I will probably never see you again but find out more about me and learn from me. Start a personal file on me in addition to my medical file.
- My endocrinologist - we will be seeing each other twice a year for a lot of years, so get to know me. My favourite consultant, who actually left me and not the other way around, always greeted me with a very firm handshake and a very hearty “How are you doing?” She actually meant it! And asked after my family. It was like being met with a hug.
Clinic visits are just so clinical. I spend so much time going through my team’s recommendations one by one, explaining why I don’t think they are going to work. I need to feel listened to. I would love to leave that building having met one or two new people in the waiting room, maybe even a friend, with a feeling of “I can do this” as I leave and have received a pat on the back NO MATTER WHAT!
NOTE: I also should point out that I am one of a minority who already has an insulin pump and a CGM. If I didn't have either of those devices my list would MOST definitely include access to them. Some Irish diabetes clinics don't even have insulin pump programmes or structured diabetes education and I am helping Diabetes Ireland advocate for these basic necessities.