Here are some tips to making the most out of your healthcare appointments.
Keep a seizure log
- Ask your community epilepsy agency for a seizure log.
- Fill it out every time you have a seizure. The more details you include, the better.
- Bring it to any epilepsy-related appointments – medical and community.
- Bring it home with you for your records.
- If you choose to share the seizure log with your health care team, give them a photocopy.
Track your medications
- List all of your prescriptions for epilepsy, including their
- How often you take them
- Side effects
- Reasons for stopping a medication.
- Track all your over-the- counter medications, vitamins, supplements, and herbal remedies.
- These lists give your healthcare team the information they need to advise you on possible drug interactions.
- Keep the list with your seizure log.
- You may find it useful to bring your original medication bottles to your healthcare appointments or take a cell phone picture of the labels on each bottle.
Get ready to ask questions
- Bring a pen and paper (notebook) to take notes during your appointment.
- Create a list of questions you have for your healthcare provider. These will be about your seizures, medications, side effects, etc.
- Pharmacists can also answer your questions about medications, side effects, and drug interactions.
- Create a list of questions for your community epilepsy agency. These can be about your Driver’s License, school, work, mood, behaviour, discrimination, financial support, etc.
TIP: You can bring someone with you to your appointment to take notes, ask questions, and help you understand the information provided.
Learn about epilepsy
- Your community epilepsy agency will give you information about epilepsy, seizures, and other strategies to cope with your diagnosis.
- Staff and volunteers at community epilepsy agencies do not diagnose or treat your seizures, but they can help you understand your rights in the healthcare system and in the community.
- The more you know about epilepsy, the better you will be able to manage your seizures and maintain a healthy lifestyle. This information will also help you ask your healthcare provider specific questions about your epilepsy diagnosis and seizures.
Share information with your healthcare provider
- Be HONEST when you describe how you feel.
- Explain other medical conditions, including physical and mental health.
- Tell your epilepsy care team if you are seeking help from other sources (naturopath, herbal remedies, biofeedback, chiropractic treatments, etc).
- Don’t be too embarrassed to share personal details or sensitive subjects. Your healthcare team is there to help.
Before you leave:
1. Make sure you understand:
- If there are new instructions to follow.
- If there are any changes in your medications or other treatments.
- If any follow up is needed. Was the healthcare provider going to book an EEG or MRI or refer you to a specialist?
2. Write any new information about your seizures/epilepsy and changes to treatments in your epilepsy management log.
- Include why changes were made.
- Confirm with the healthcare provider that your understanding of the information they gave you is correct.
3. Find out when to return for your next visit.
4. Ask for medication renewals.
This information was adapted from the Spark sheet “Planning Your Medical Appointment” (Epilepsy Ontario, 2015). Download a pdf version here.