Strong health care relationships are good for you
(NC)—Trust, honesty, respect and cooperation – these are signs of any healthy relationship, including the one with your health care professional.
The strength of that relationship affects your physical well-being and outlook. “Your right to safe, competent and ethical care includes how you're treated in every way,” says Linda Gough, president of the Federation of Health Regulatory Colleges of Ontario (FHRCO).
FHRCO (www.regulatedhealthprofessions.on.ca) includes 26 regulatory colleges, which hold their members accountable for their conduct and practice, set requirements for entering the profession and standards for practicing, and administer quality assurance programs.
Together, the colleges regulate more than 260,000 health professionals. To forge a productive and healthy relationship with any of them, consider this:
• Be engaged in your health care. That means having open discussions about approaches and alternatives, and working together to arrive at decisions. The Health Council of Canada says people who are active participants feel happier with their care and about their health.
• Communicate well. Does your health care provider really listen, give you a chance to express yourself, address your concerns, and acknowledge your feelings? These are vital skills. In fact, in a study from 2012, patients with more sympathetic and understanding doctors had fewer complications and better health outcomes. For any health professional, communication and care go hand in hand.
• Get on the same page. Care and treatment should revolve around your goals, wishes and expectations. When your health care professional understands and accounts for those, you can move forward together with the most appropriate plans.
• Be the focus. Do you have the health care provider's undivided attention? Are you given enough time? Is every decision in your best interests? You should feel that your needs always come first.
• Have confidence. To follow your health care provider's recommendations or feel good about the course of action, you need faith in their skills, judgment and knowledge. As in any relationship, be open if you have issues. If problems are more serious and you think your care is being compromised, contact the provider's health regulatory college (FHRCO's website has links to all the colleges).
“Your one-on-one relationship with any health care professional is vital to the ideal delivery of care,” says Gough. “Feeling comfortable with and confident in that professional is your right.”
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