Working with your Health Care Team
You and those who care for you can help with your treatment and how you monitor your reactions and side effects. Your healthcare team needs to collect a lot of information to develop a treatment plan that best addresses your needs. For example: Do you want to have a child now or in the future? Are you working? Do you have any allergies? Do you have a support network?
Working with Your Doctor
You and your doctor will work together as a team to manage your treatment plan, so it is safer and more reassuring to have an open and honest relationship. Your doctor will want to know what works for you and what does not to tailor each plan to fit you best.
Your doctor will ask a number of questions, and you too may have a lot questions. Here are a few that will give you an outline of what you might want to know in order to understand your treatment plan and to manage your symptoms.
You will probably not want to ask them all — and probably not all at the same time. However, many of these questions will act as a useful reminder of information you might want to know at some point during your treatment. You may want to print this list of questions and take it with you to your next appointment. Consider taking a pen to your appointment to write notes — it might be a lot of information to remember all at once.
Question For Your Doctor (Click to Print Questions)
- What does my diagnosis mean?
- Can you explain it in a way that I will understand?
- What is the name of the medication and what is it supposed to do?
- How and when do I take this medication, and when do I stop taking it?
- Are there any foods or medications I should avoid while taking the prescribed medication?
- Should the medication be taken with food or on an empty stomach?
- Are there any other types of treatment?
- What are the side effects and what should I do if they occur?
- Where can I get more information about the medication and possible side effects?
- Is it safe to drink alcohol when I am on this medication?
- Are there other specialists I could contact who might be able to help me manage/alleviate symptoms?
- What can I expect in the near future and over time?
- Can I get help with the cost of my medication?
- Should I tell people at school?
- Do I have to tell people at work?
- Is it safe to drive while taking this medication?
- Can you give me an out-of-hours emergency telephone number?
- Is there anything I can do at home to make things easier or safer?
- Are there organizations or support groups I can contact?
- Can I have children?
- What should I do if I am pregnant or want to have children?
In addition, Health Quality Ontario (HQO), the province’s advisor on health care quality, has developed a Schizophrenia Quality Standard for Care for Adults in Hospitals which provides a comprehensive standard of care for the treatment of schizophrenia in the hospital setting. The Standard is a guide to help to help you understand the care you should expect in a hospital setting and to develop your care plan with your doctor.
HQO is currently developing a Schizophrenia Quality Standard for Care in the Community. Information about the draft Standard can be found here.
Working with Your Pharmacist
Your pharmacist is an important part of your healthcare team. Pharmacists are highly trained in the area of medication management. Pharmacists can work with you to help monitor your medications. Pharmacists can also play a big role in helping you manage or reduce side effects if they occur.
Your pharmacist will always dispense the lowest priced medication to you. This is a requirement for pharmacists according to the law of dispensing medications. The lowest priced medication is usually a generic brand of the medication. If you would like the brand name you may request it. However, your drug plan may not cover the whole cost and if you would like this option you will be asked to pay the difference in cost.
Your pharmacist may ask you a number of questions to help determine the risk for side effects and drug interactions. You too may have a lot questions for the pharmacist about your medication. Ask them as many questions as you have to be sure you understand your medications. Most pharmacies have a private counselling room to discuss your medicine. Ask your pharmacist if you can review your questions in a private space.
Here are a few that will help you learn the most you can about your medications.
Questions to Ask Your Pharmacist (Click To Print Questions)
1. What is the name of the medication and what is it supposed to do?
2. How and when do I take this medication, and when do I stop taking it?
3. Are there any foods or medications I should avoid while taking the prescribed medication?
4. Should the medication be taken with food or on an empty stomach?
5. What are the side effects and what should I do if they occur?
6. Where can I get more information about the medication and possible side effects?
7. Is it safe to drink alcohol when I am on this medication?
8. Can I get help with the cost of my medication?
9. Why do you always give me the generic medication? Can I have the brand name?
10. Is it safe to drive while taking this medication?
11. What should I do if I miss a dose of this medication?
12. I get medications from more than one doctor? Will the medications interact?