Making The Most Of Your Vist To A Doctor

Your general practitioner (GP or local doctor) is usually your first stop for health care. Your GP can help you coordinate your overall health care, including making referrals to  specialists to help manage your arthritis if needed. Your GP clinic may also have a practice nurse who can provide information and oversee your care with other members of your health care team.

To get the most out of a visit to your GP or other health professional it is important to be prepared.

Here are some tips: 
• Think about, and write down, the questions you want to ask before your visit.
• Always take x-rays and test results related to your condition to your consultation.
• Consider taking a family member or friend with you as a second set of ears.
• Ask your doctor or health professional to explain any information that you did not
understand.
• Feel free to ask questions, especially about the benefits, side effects and costs of
treatments.
• Write down any important information or instructions that you are given.
• Contact Arthritis Queensland for access to information or for any further questions you
have about your condition.

Questions your doctor will usually ask:
• How long have you experienced pain?
• Which joints are affected?
• When you get pain what seems to cause it?
• What makes the joint feel better or worse?
• Does anyone else in your family have arthritis or joint pain?
                                                                                  © Queensland Health

Important: Arthritis can get worse if left untreated. It is important to see your doctor as early as possible to get a proper diagnosis.

The information for this article has been summarised from the Arthritis Australia booklet 10 steps for living well with arthritis. To order contact Arthritis Queensland on 1800 011 041.

Arthritis and Chronic Disease Management Plans

If you have arthritis and need access to allied health professionals to help manage your
condition, then you can ask your GP about a GP Management Plan, otherwise known as a care plan. A care plan enables your GP to refer you for five allied health professional services per year funded by the Medicare rebate. The services can be with a single health provider or shared across different providers.

Eligible service providers include (but are not limited to): chiropractors, dietitians, exercise
physiologists, occupational therapists, physiotherapists, podiatrists and psychologists.
If a provider accepts the Medicare benefit as full payment for the service, there will be no out-of pocket cost.

If not, you will have to pay the difference between the fee charged and the Medicare
rebate. Ask your GP for more information.