Teaching Your Doctor – Health Care Tips You Need to Know

As patients, we all like to think our doctors are on top of their game — they know everything there is to know about our particular health problem. We like to think this because we are putting our health and our lives in their hands.

However, what we really should be thinking is how can doctors stay current on all the new developments, knowledge and recommended treatments available? After all, there are so many new medical findings/reports given everyday it is impossible for any one doctor to stay current in all areas of medicine. It is even a challenge for a doctor to stay current in one specialized area of medicine.

Yes, doctors are required to take continuing education classes, but the number of hours required per year is minimal compared to all the new medical information available each and every day. To stay current, doctors need to make a concerted effort to learn what is new in their particular practicing area. Doctors who are expert lecturers even hire full-time staff to review all the available new medical information. That is how they stay current and can be considered experts.

The point of sharing these thoughts with you is, no matter how good your doctors are there may come a day when they cannot answer your specific questions. They may not know about a particular new treatment, may not know about a change in the current standard of care. You, the patient, may find yourself educating your doctors about something you have read. Think this is not likely to happen, then think again! This happens much more often than we like to admit. Here is an example of a real-life situation a friend recently shared with me . . .

Sarah (not her real name) recently told me she had been feeling very tired and was gaining weight. Her doctor was running some blood tests and was checking her thyroid function. She would know about her test results in a few days. A few days later she told me her blood tests came back fine, within the normal lab ranges. I asked her what her TSH value was and she said it was 4.8. Her doctor thought they could repeat tests in about 3 months.

I was shocked to hear her doctor thought a TSH of 4.8 was normal. I thought she was probably becoming hypothyroid. I explained to her that the American Association of Clinical Endocrinologists (AACE) established new guidelines in 2003 for the TSH range and the new normal range for TSH is now 0.3 to 3.04. Using this narrower range, Sarah would be considered hypothyroid (not enough thyroid hormone) and would be given thyroid supplements.

I suggested Sarah visit the AACE website [http://www.aace.com/newsroom/press/2003/index.php?r=20030118] or Mary Shomon’s thyroid column at http://www.about.com to learn more. (Mary Shomon is the guide for thyroid issues and she provides patients with a great deal of helpful thyroid information.) I encouraged Sarah to speak with her doctor now and not wait three months. Sarah’s doctor was following old standards and most likely did not know about the narrower TSH range. Her doctor was just reading the range the laboratory provided instead of following the new guidelines.

Sarah’s situation is just one example of a doctor not knowing the latest information. In case you find yourself in a similar situation, here are some helpful tips when educating your doctor:

Do your health homework. No matter what doctor you see, you need to verify and discover information yourself. Go to reputable medical sources on-line and print out copies of information you want to discuss with your doctor. Reputable medical sources are sites run by well-known doctors, organizations, or universities like http://www.webmd.com or http://www.americanheart.org. Avoid sites written by unknown individuals merely express an opinion and not verifiable facts. For rarer medical information, visit medical libraries and ask the librarian for assistance in finding answers to the questions you have. No matter how you do your homework — have a hard copy to show your doctor.
Ask your doctor for some time to answer your questions and show him or her printed material. They may want to see the specifics for themselves before they can comment. One of several scenarios should then follow: The best scenario would be for your doctor to already be aware of the information you are providing and for you both to have a thorough discussion about it. The next best scenario would be for your doctor to be unaware of the information and for him or her to be willing to look into if further for you or refer you to someone who is more knowledgeable in that area. Perhaps the worst scenario would be for your doctor to be unaware of the information and be unwilling to take the time to discuss it with you.
Smart doctors will react to information a patient presents by either already knowing the information or by wanting to know more about the new information. Smart doctors know they can always keep learning and they are not offended by patients asking questions and providing information. They are often grateful for patients who bring important issues to their attention because it may help them treat other patients better in the future. You should seek out doctors who are willing to discuss information with you and have a true partnership relationship when it comes to your care.
On the flip side, you should avoid doctors who are unwilling to discuss new information with you. If they are too busy to answer your questions, then you don’t need them. Stay with them only long enough to find a new doctor who will have a quality doctor-patient relationship with you. You need a doctor who has your best interests in mind. Remember in the end, it’s your or your loved one’s health at stake.
Doctors are human beings too. They genuinely want to help people. That is why they went into medicine in the first place. Just like you, they have many time pressures on them and in this fast-paced world it is not easy to keep up on everything new in medicine. Give your doctors the opportunity and flexibility to help you before you decide to move on. If they are willing to spend time answering your questions, but ask to do so at an alternative time or by an alternative means, then try being understanding and work with them. Some doctors have a time during the day when they are more easily able to speak with patients by phone or some will even communicate with patients via e-mail. The best solution is to find a way to get your questions answered that works for both you and your doctor.

Dr. Donna Pikula is an award-winning health care writer and speaker who helps people become smarter patients. Smarter patients know how to receive the health care they deserve for themselves and their loved ones, while reducing their chances of suffering from medical errors. Dr. Pikula invites you to visit [http://books2helpyou.com] to learn more about the award-winning book After the Diagnosis: How to Look Out for Yourself or a Loved One and its companion notebook, My Medical Organizer. While visiting, we also encourage you to discover other SMART patient tips and sign-up for our monthly health newsletter!

Licensed Practical Nursing Educational Tips and Requirements

Under the supervision of registered nurses (RNs) and doctors, licensed practical nurses (LPN) or licensed vocational nurses (LVN) provide patient care to the ill, injured and disabled.

Responsibilities of most LPNs and LVNs include the provision of basic bedside care and recording of vital signs such as temperature, blood pressure, pulse and respiration. They also observe patients during recovery to see if there are any adverse reactions to prescribed medicines. Some LPNs assist in deliveries, caring and feeding of newborns. LPNs who have gained enough experience manage nursing assistants and aides.

Hospitals employ LPNs and LVNs to periodically check on patients. They could work in shifts; they could work in day, night or graveyard shifts. Their schedules are flexible; they may work full-time or par-time or only during weekends. This is beneficial to them as they can fulfill their obligations too, be it with their families or school.

Training to become an LPN usually takes 12-18 months to complete. It includes classroom and clinical instruction in its curriculum. Many nursing schools offer the program in night and weekend classes. This is beneficial to the currently employed who wish to pursue advanced studies without needing to leave their jobs. Enrolling in an LPN program is relatively easy as it usually only requires a high school diploma.

Competent skills in problem solving and management are requirements in an LPN’s job. The LPN program teaches its students to become effective multi-taskers. They should have good communication skills as this is essential in working with patients, physicians and other health care providers. LPNs are taught to work well under pressure. They are taught to act alert during emergencies. They are prepared for eventualities when they would need to handle patients without the supervision of doctors and other medical staff.

Many career opportunities are offered for a licensed practical nurse. They have the options of joining hospitals, nursing homes, long-term care facilities and other health care facilities.

Reminders for Potential LPNs:

1) Many vocational and technical schools offer practical nursing programs that usually take a minimum of one year to complete.

2) A nursing license must be obtained by taking and passing the National Council Licensure Examination for Practical Nurses or NCLEX-PN. Do not be complacent and think that the exam is the same as the previous ones. The length usually varies.

3) Classroom education covers basic nursing concepts and other related courses such as obstetrics, nutrition, psychiatry, pediatrics, physiology, pharmacology, first aid and patient care. Clinical instruction and experience under supervision are usually held at hospitals or sometimes in other health care facilities and settings.

Understanding the Necessity of Acquiring Your Own Insurance Policy

Understanding Insurance ClaimsAn Insurance Plan can get us off our worries. May it be an Educational Plan, Health, Life, Auto, Accident or Retirement Insurance Plan. Living in a country where everything is fast-paced, having an Insurance Policy is a necessity. The absence of these much-needed Plans could cause you a lot of troubles. Imagine, what to do when someone in the family is sick? Paying your hospital bills could be worrisome and how would you send your children to school without an Educational Insurance?Some people have different kinds of Insurance Plans to secure their life and that of their family. However, an insurance claim also provides negative feedbacks that discourages people from thinking of the necessity of acquiring an insurance Plan. Definitely, an Insurance Plan means benefits but somehow, claiming those benefits could be tedious and time-consuming. Insurance claims need not give us so much trouble if we just understand how Insurance companies work on our Insurance claims. So to fully understand issues and save us a lot of troubles claiming our insurance, let us take a look on this.How to File Your 4 Important Insurance ClaimsFiling your Auto Insurance Claim1. Assess if the Claim is Worth the TroubleBefore filing for an auto insurance claim, decide if you want to file a claim or not. If you think you can afford to pay for the damage, no matter who is responsible for it, then try not to make any claim. What is important, according to a Personal Insurance Expert, you need to keep your Insurance Record clean.2. Get the Accident DocumentIt is very important to document every detail of the accident and get witnesses to back up your story afterwards. A Police record on the scene is a relevant document you must have to support your claim.3. File Claim ImmediatelyYou don’t need to lose time in filing your claim. Question as to who is responsible will be taken care of by your Insurance Company.4. Expect a Call AnytimeExpect a call from the other driver’s Insurance Company to interview you on your version of the incident. Make sure you document the conversation and don’t forget to ask the agent’s name.5. Get Your Car FixedAfter your claim is approved, then you can have your car’s body fixed in case of a damage. The Insurance Company will assess the damage or ask you to send your car to any car shop of their choice to get it fixed.How to File Your Home Insurance ClaimIn case of a disaster which left you and your family homeless, file your Home Insurance Claim. As you file your claim, be sure to have your Insurance Policy with you. In case you were not able to have your copy available after the disaster, at least know and remember your Insurance Company’s name and contact numbers. It is not always relevant to remember only your agent’s name for sometimes, he could represent various companies.Prepare a Quick Household InventoryIt’s always better to take a video of your whole household belongings every time you acquire a Home Insurance Plan. Keep a copy of this record and keep it in a safe-keeping vault outside of your house. It’s always advisable to keep a bank deposit box for important documents like Insurance Policies, Property Title, etc.Notify Your Insurance Company ASAPIt is important to notify your Insurance Company as soon as possible for the reason that you may have to avail of the Loss-of-Use Benefit in your policy if you have this feature. This could cover living expenses outside of your home while it is being repaired such as hotel bills, meals and other cost of living expenses. This will entitle you to receive immediate cash needed for your bills.Start Filing Your ClaimYou can’t have your claim until you have everything properly documented. So, it would be hard for you to have a documented list of your household belongings if you don’t have access to your damaged home. Only when you can gain access to your home once again could you properly document it. While you are waiting for the approval of the claim, you may make minor repairs but be sure to record every disbursement you make. Don’t make any major repairs until your claim is approved.How to Hire a Contractor for Insurance ClaimFind a reputable contractor to take care of your building or repair needs. A lot of contractors would always grab a chance like this to take advantage of your anxiety. They can always stretch your budget beyond the level of reasoning.How to File a Life Insurance ClaimFiling for an Insurance Claim after the death of a loved is not really easy. However, it is at this point in life when you have to be practical. You need money more than anything to pay off the funeral cost, bills and even the family needs. It is hard to be left alone and face all these problems but you have to be thankful if the deceased love one had prepared you for times like this. As a survivor, we sometimes worry about things like these but a Life Insurance Plan is designed to give us less worries and ensures the deceased family that we won’t have to deal with the financial problem as we grieved over the loss of a loved one.Find the Life Insurance PolicyThe Policy is an important document granted to the Policy Holder. This is badly needed when filing for an Insurance claim. Be sure to look for it if the deceased party had failed to inform you where he had kept it. You may keep in mind that this is a very important document, so the keeper might have kept it in a place not easily seen or recognizable. You may look in a plastic container or any sealed container large enough to contain it. It could also be kept in a small drawer of a cabinet in your head board or lamp stand cabinet.If you can’t find the Insurance Policy but you are sure that the decease is an Insurance Policy Holder, you may write to the American Council of Life Insurance (ACLI).For a small amount, the ACLI will conduct a search to find the Policy. The address is 101 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW, Washington, DC 20004-2500. Don’t forget to include a self-addressed, business-sized envelope.Contact the Company’s Number Listed in the PolicyTry to contact immediately the contact number or numbers listed in the document. If you personally know the authorized representative or agent, you may as well contact him directly and tell him that you want to file a claim. The company’s agent will always be ready to assist you in your filing. He will be providing you with forms needed for the application. Wait for any instruction that the Insurance Company will provide you.Fill-up the Necessary Forms and Submit RequirementsAfter receiving the necessary form needed for application in filing for the Insurance claim, fill it up with all the needed information. Provide also the other requirements needed upon submission. The Death Certificate is the very basic of all requirements you may need to provide together with your Application Form. Decide How you want to Receive the Proceeds from the Life Policy. You may choose to receive the proceeds in lump sum, or opt to receive it in a form of monthly pension or simply leave the money in deposit for it to earn interest and dividends.Wait for the Release of the FundsExpect that your fund’s approval for the claim will take more than a month to process as the Insurance Company still have to validate information relative to your application.How to File Health for Medical ClaimsIf you have to pay for your medical bills, then you have to file for your Health Insurance Claim. Here are some helpful tips in making your claim:Keep an Itemized ReportBe sure to obtain all receipts and necessary statement of accounts issued by the doctor or pharmacist. Summarize it, so it could be easily understood by the Insurance Evaluator. Attach it to your Application Form.Fill-Up Your Claim Application FormContact your Health Insurance Company as soon as possible. You may get your Application Form directly from them after declaring your desire to file for a Health Insurance Claim. The Application Form is easy to fill-up but someone from the Insurance Company is sure to assist you if there are some items in the Application Form that you don’t understand.Scan or Duplicate a CopyAfter filling up your form and submitting to the Health Insurance Company, be sure to scan it or have your duplicate copy to keep. This will keep you from inconvenience in case of loss or error in filing. You can easily file it again when needed. Review Before Submission. File your claim as soon as possible. Ask for assistance or inquire for any additional instruction or requirements. Ask how long it will take you to wait for the result and be sure to make a note of it in your calendar. If they failed to contact you on the given date, be sure to contact your Health Insurance Agent immediately.