Appointments with healthcare professionals can be daunting so doing a bit of preparatory work prior to the appointment will help you to feel more confident and get the most from the appointment. Below are some suggested steps you can take in the lead up to an appointment.

1. Check Location
If you are seeing a professional for the first time and the appointment is going to be in an unfamiliar venue then it is worth you checking exactly where the venue is, what transport you can use to get you to the location and how long it will take you to get there.  If the appointment is at a hospital then allow an extra 10 minutes to locate the precise department.  If the service has a website then checking this out may help. Websites often contain transport information and maps showing you where you are aiming to get to and how you can get there.

2.  Diary Sheets
Keeping a log of symptoms, their frequency and severity can be helpful for you and the health practitioner you are seeing.  You can use a diary, one of the phone aps on the market or keep separate log sheets.  There are some in the worksheets section of this site which you can either use as they are or tweak to fit your personal circumstances.  Aim to keep at least 2 weeks worth of records.  Even if you miss the odd day these kind of records can be really helpful for enabling you and professionals to identify patterns and possible triggers.  They will also help you to express your concerns clearly and can be a handy backup if your mind goes blank in the appointment itself.

3. Read Last Letter/Appointment Notes
If the appointment is a follow up to an earlier appointment rereading through the notes or letter from your last appointment will help to refresh your member and remind you of any outstanding questions you may have regarding your condition.

4. Bring Support 
If you find appointments overwhelming and it would be beneficial to have support then consider asking a loved one of friend to come along as moral support.  Having an additional person there to support you will help you to remember any action discussed during the appointment and the person can help prompt you on any questions or concerns you may want to raise.

5. Write Questions Down
If there are any questions, concerns or anxieties you have about your treatment, diagnosis or the service you are receiving write these down and bring these notes to the appointment.  Having written notes will help you to remember the items you would like discussed and any questions, and will help to relieve any anxieties about going blank during the appointment.

6. Distraction
Often hospital appointments don't run entirely to schedule so bring a magazine or book or something to occupy you while you wait.  This will help to relax you before the appointment and take your mind off your surroundings.  Be aware that many medical departments don't allow you to use mobile phones so don't rely on games on your phone.  If you do need to keep your phone switched on check with reception staff when booking in.