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Chronic Illness? 8 Must-haves To Bring To Health Care Appointments

“You’re stronger, and you’re better, and you’re ready for whatever.” Alicia Keys

There was a time when all you needed to do to prepare for an appointment with a health care provider was shower and put on clean underwear. Upon arrival you explained your issues and let the provider take the lead.

It should come as no surprise that as a result of this, many of us with chronic illness didn’t feel in control of our health. We also didn’t feel included in our health care decisions.

But today when we attend health care appointments we must do more to prepare. People with chronic illness generally have more than one condition and attend appointments on a regular basis. We also manage segments of our own care like medications and blood sugar or blood pressure monitoring. And we are responsible for keeping this information to make sure our providers know how we’re doing.

So here are …

8 must-haves to bring to a health care appointment

1. Questions

Put the most important questions/concerns at the top of the list because time may be an issue

2. Medication list

Include all medications such as eye/ear drops
Naturopathic meds
Over the counter drugs
Include the name of the physician and/or nurse practitioner who prescribed the medication
List allergies
If you have a challenge gathering this information you can consult your pharmacist

3. Journal/records you keep

Pain journal
Blood sugar records
BP records
Mood journals
Any other information that will be beneficial

4. Forms

Bring any forms that need to be completed by your provider
This includes pension, disability or government forms
Fill out any sections that you can (If there is a fee for this service bring along the money for the transaction)

5. Pen and paper or smart phone

You should take notes
Pen and paper will be fine
Smart phone is also an option
You can ask to record parts of the visit (remember you cannot share records without permission)
Video option is good for recording physio exercises; wound care, medication management or any demonstrations
You can also take pictures of posters and notes (once again you cannot share due to copyright restrictions)

6. Calendar

Bring your calendar to record your next appointment
It’s easier to book your next appointment before you leave rather than when you get home

7. Advocate

Bring along a trusted friend or family member to support you or to speak on your behalf
When you are anxious or worried it’s likely you’ll forget or not even hear what the health care provider says
An advocate can take records and ask questions for you

8. Confidence

Ask questions and use the time efficiently
Be assertive


It may take a while to get ready. I suggest starting as soon as you book the appointment. Write down your list of questions or concerns.

If you’re prepared at your appointment you’ll be confident and feel empowered to ask questions. And you’ll likely consider yourself part of the process. As Alicia Keys says you’ll “be ready for whatever.”



What do you do to prepare for a health care appointment?

Chronic Illness? 8 Must-haves To Bring To Health Care Appointments

This article has been updated from the original version, which was originally published here on August 15, 2018.

Sharen Skelly

Sharen Skelly is a retired Registered Nurse from Ontario, Canada. She has a diploma in Nursing from Algonquin College and a Certificate in Community Nursing from Sir Sandford Fleming College. Despite diagnoses of fibromyalgia, trigeminal neuralgia, rheumatoid arthritis and depression, Sharen lives a productive life. She is a host and community producer at Rogers TV, Grey County and a freelance writer. In addition, she is a peer leader/community health educator with the South West Ontario Local Health Integration Network, Self-Management Program for people with chronic conditions/chronic pain developed by Stanford University. A single mother of 2 grown children, what Sharen likes to do most is spend time with her family and friends.

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APA Reference
Skelly, S. (2019). Chronic Illness? 8 Must-haves To Bring To Health Care Appointments. Psych Central. Retrieved on October 27, 2020, from


Last updated: 13 May 2019
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