Maximizing Your Care Team In Your Neighborhood

After a recent exacerbation, I have really found merit in my care team that works together has made the word of difference. As usual, I have a knack for getting sick or having an exacerbation at the most inopportune time. In this case, the day before a business trip that I could not change the date of. Of course, I was presenting the next day and was on a slight downward spiral. I was lucky that a call into my doctor's office, got me a quick appointment in to see the new practitioner. More about her in second. I was really struck how my specialist team sprung into action and there was lots of communication back to my primary doctor's office. They formulated a plan together, which was great. There was lots of sharing of data and observations, but real discussion about symptoms and the best approach. I am not sure if I just have not been privy to these dialogues.

Who are the people in your care team?

I have been super fortunate to have a great group involved. I had a supporting family physician who is open to dialogues and treats me as a partner in my care and not just a patient. I have recently gained a nurse practitioner to my primary care team. She is awesome smart, caring and really engaging. While we did have not had the opportunity to participate in a lot of discussions. I received surprisingly compassionate and effective care right from the start. I wasn't sure what to expect. Like most of you, it sometimes takes a long time to break in new members of your care team. This usually requires several appointments. There a bit of dance you do when getting to know someone, ensuring that you understand each other's goals, or that your goals are even shared. Even communication styles.

Other people involved in my care team are a couple A-M-A-Z-I-N-G RT’s, seriously they are amazing. Not only do this provide great care but they are also super smart. They help me fill in my knowledge gaps, for example getting my head around understanding PFT’s (pulmonary function tests).

I did not always have an amazing care team or a village.

I did start out with having very disjointed care. It was exhausting. It is true that sometimes being a patient is a full-time job. A pillar of successful people is surrounding you with the best people you can. This is a perfect example of this. You may need to set yourself up to find those people or be the initial conduit between your team members. Be open to having a conversation about your goals and expectations, chat with your physicians, and then find out what communication pathways will work for them. Ask them for recommendations on how you can gain the most out of your care, If you feel you need to add people, don’t be afraid to ask for connections to certified asthma educators, RT's, nutritionists, physical therapists, psychologist or your pharmacists. The more they communicate with you, and with each other date more cohesive your team will be.

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