If you have ever suffered a major health crisis, you most likely have experienced at some point having to absorb so much new information that you don’t remember any of it. Health providers don’t take into consideration all the factors involved in helping someone move forward after such a crisis.
One of those factors is how anxiety and stress can lower your ability to remember newly learned information. Another factor is that optimal learning occurs when someone hears and sees the information, and then has opportunity to write something about the information. Most health providers don’t have or take the time for proper teaching. The good news is that you can help yourself or a loved one take control of your health care learning situation once you know how to do it.
Take for example, you or your loved one has experienced a heart attack and are now having to learn how to move on from this experience in a healthy way. Here are some suggestions:
- Take someone with you when you visit your health provider to help you remember what was said.
- Take a recorder to record the conversation, but ask everyone in the room if it is ok.
- Learn more about your medical condition such as what type of heart attack you had, what medical factors most likely contributed to your condition (high cholesterol, high blood pressure, diabetes, genetic factors etc.) and what lifestyle factors impacted your current health (diet, obesity, activity level, stress level, etc).
- Get healthy lifestyle change tips at the Heart and Stroke Foundation of Canada.
Be Part of the Team
Your physician will most likely choose the members of your team such as a dietitian or nutritionist, physical therapist, exercise specialist, home health care, social worker/counselor, etc. Your job is to participate and learn what they have to teach you, ask questions, and make suggestions. It’s very important to ask for all instructions to be in writing. Be proactive, as the outcome of your healing will be affected by how much you participate.
Follow the Plan
Most heart conditions are related to high cholesterol, high blood pressure, diabetes and other medical factors. The physician will probably order continuous testing of these values, and it is your job to make sure you get to your appointments for these tests. It is also important that you get to your other therapy appointments, even if you don’t feel well that day. Many people believe they should feel good when they go to therapists, when in fact the therapists really need to see you in every condition.
Get the Help You Need
Your physician will most likely refer you for home health care after a heart attack. Here you will have the professionals to help you with the physical monitoring of your condition, help you develop a nutritional program for your new lifestyle, oversee your diet and exercise program, and assist you in making a healthy emotional transition for these heart healthy lifestyle changes.
Experiencing a medical crisis like a heart attack requires obtaining help for successfully making healthy changes in your life. Many people experience a great amount of fear during their recovery, which, if not addressed, can impede your progress. Working together with your team of health providers proactively will greatly improve your long term health and wellness!