In the previous article 10 Things To Do This Month (to get your asthma under control), one of the items mentioned was the scheduling of your annual well-check asthma visit with your health care provider. Alongside of this should be a visit with an AE-C® (certified asthma educator). This article will guide you through the process of preparing for your visits.
Preparation for your well-check asthma visit with your health care provider and AE-C® can make your visit more efficient, effective and helpful. Successful asthma management requires a team approach. Your health care provider is only one member of that team. You must remember that your provider and AE-C® only get a snapshot of your asthma wellness as you sit in their office. Without you sharing a more complete picture, they have no way to help you reach your asthma management goals.
Once you have set your well-check asthma visit to your health care provider and AE-C®, take these steps to prepare:
1. Get a dedicated folder – An inexpensive, two-pocket report folder (like you might have used in school) is perfect for this. Label it, “My Asthma Folder” and add a small notepad and pen for taking notes. This is where you will keep all of your asthma-related information.
2. Journal – If you haven’t already begun, start your asthma journal. This can be a ready-made asthma journal or a spiral notebook. Your journal should contain the following information on a daily basis:
- Peak Flow Meter readings
- Trigger exposures
- Asthma symptoms experienced
- Asthma medications used
- Challenges with any medications
3. Schedule your Spirometry – Call your health care provider and request your annual spirometry (lung function test) so that your results are available for your appointment. This can save time and make your actual visit more beneficial. These results will be the objective test to help guide your asthma care and management.
4. Medication & Asthma Tool Inventory – Make a List of all of your medications and asthma medication tools (Peak Flow Meters, Holding Chambers, Nebulizer Compressor & cups, etc). This includes prescriptions, over-the-counter, alternative and integrative therapies, vitamins and minerals. Highlight the medications you take for asthma, who prescribed them, and their refill and/or expiration dates. Your health care provider and AE-C® need to know this so they can help with medication challenges and understand your personalized asthma management.
5. Medical History Changes – Make a list of any important medical issue changes that have occurred since your last annual visit. Your appointment will be a good time to confirm that all of this information is correctly recorded in your records. Some of this important items to include:
- Surgeries (when, what and why)
- Hospitalizations (when and why)
- Current Medications (names, dosages and why it was prescribed to you)
- Alternative or Integrative Therapy (what, how much and why)
6. Wish List – What have you found that you must limit because of your asthma that you really would like to enjoy doing? Have you had to stop playing a sport, reduce the distance you run, stop singing, or avoid the fire in the fireplace? Think about this question before your appointment. Know your answer. This answer is not necessarily the same for any two people. Your wish will be one of the things that can help guide your asthma management plan so that you can achieve your goals. This is just as important as the medication you are on, and the diagnostic tests used to monitor your asthma control.
7. List of Concerns/Challenges – Do you have concerns about how your asthma management is going? Are you challenged by the costs of your medications? Do you not like the medication taste, schedule, or side-effects? Your health care provider and AE-C® need to know this information. Write these concerns & challenges down and let them know so that they can help to resolve these issues.
8. Arrive On Time – Preparation for your appointment continues all the way up until you get to your appointment. Arrive on time (early), be pleasant, and have the mindset of a “Team Player”.
Take the time to prepare for your appointments. Preparation = a more successful process = better outcome = happier living! Remember that you, your health care provider, AE-C®, respiratory therapist, nurse, pharmacist and family members all play important roles on your asthma care team. Going through these steps of preparation will help you to be ready to interact with all members of your team.
Published On: March 15, 2010