Managing Your Healthcare

Managing your medical needs after a stroke takes confidence to advocate for yourself to medical professionals and knowledge of medications and side effects. Check out the information and links below to learn more about managing your medical needs.

Click on the link below to download a Post-Stroke Checklist. The checklist guides you in making decisions about your medical care.

Advocating For Yourself

You are entitled to equality under the law. However, sometimes patients are not treated equally based on race, age, gender, socioeconomics, and other factors. It's important to know your rights as a patient. Click on this link to access the national Patient Bill of Rights. 

You and the medical professionals supporting you are a TEAM. So it's important to be prepared to speak with your team if you have concerns about your care. 

Tips for advocating for yourself:

1. Have questions for your doctor or other medical professionals ready in advance

2. Bring someone with you to your appointment. Another option is have a patient-advocate join your appointment. Some hospital systems offer patient-advocates. Contact your local Disability Rights Center as they may be able to connect you with an advocate for the appointment. There are also for-hire patient advocates on the National Association of Healthcare Advocacy website. 

3. Ask for copies of your medical records. You will need to sign a medical record information release form (HIPAA) in order to share your records with other people.

4. If you don't feel comfortable with what a medical professional is recommending. Consider making an appointment with another doctor or medical professional for a second opinion. 

5. If your health insurance company refuses to pay for a claim or ends your coverage, you have the right to appeal the decision. There are two ways to appeal a health plan decision:

  • Internal appeal: If your claim is denied, you may ask your insurance company to conduct a full and fair review of its decision. 
  • External review: You have the right to take your appeal to an independent third party for review. Your insurance company no longer gets final say over whether to pay the claim. Click on this link to learn more about how to request an external review.  

Medications: Things you Should Know

1. What is the name of the medication, and why am I taking it? 

2. How many times a day should I take it, and at what times?

3. When should I stop taking the medication?

4. What does "as needed" mean?

5. Does this medication contain anything that can cause an allergic reaction?

6. Should I take the medication with food or without?

7. Is there anything I should not eat or drink when taking this medication?

8. What side effects are possible and will they affect my safety when walking or driving? (dizziness, headache, drowsiness)

9. If I forget to take my medication, what should I do?

10. Is there a generic version of the medication that I can take?

11. Are there any special instructions about storing my medication, such as keeping it in the refrigerator? 

12. Will I be able to swallow the medication?

Who can answer these questions?

A pharmacist can answer many of your questions about prescriptions and over-the-counter drugs. Try to have all your prescriptions filled at the same pharmacy so your records are in one place. This will help alert the pharmacist if a new drug might cause a problem with something else you are taking. Tell the pharmacist if you have trouble swallowing pills. There may be liquid medicine available. Do not chew, break, or crush tablets without first finding out if the drug will still work.

Source: Adapted from the National Institute on Aging (2020) Safe use of medicines for older adults.

Organizing Medications

Do you have a family member or aide who gives you daily medications? Or are you responsible for managing your own medications?  Click on the links below to learn about techniques to manage your own medications.

Know Your All About Your Medications

Download the medication management chart below to keep track of all your medications. The chart helps you remember when to take your medications, what they are for, their side effects, and precautions. This is helpful for both you and your doctor to ensure health literacy and proper medication management.