By Meshia Adams, DPC Patient Ambassador
If you asked me if I was an engaged patient, I would tell you yes. I can tell you what my last lab values are; I am compliant with taking my medications and see my doctors on a regular basis. I consider myself to be a responsible patient who is closely involved in my healthcare needs.
I haven’t always been active in my care or engaged as a patient. In the beginning, I was in a state of denial and was convinced my doctor had it wrong. Over the years, I have learned to live with my special attribute of having CKD. There comes a point where you have to make a choice of how you want to live the rest of your life. I chose to do just that, live my life.
I have had the opportunity to speak with many patients and professionals in the kidney community about kidney disease. I have found that some professionals find it difficult to engage patients in being more involved with their care. I also find patients aren’t always engaged for a number of reasons that range from depression, anger or lack of knowledge.
In my experience, I have realized that collaborative care is an effective way to have better patient outcomes. Being a decision the maker in your healthcare needs is paramount. As a patient, you should not feel rushed into making a decision and be able to share your perspective with your physician. I make sure that my nephrologist, transplant team, PCP, and other specialists I see have the most up to date information about me. I have learned that you have to become your best advocate when it comes to your health.
Being a kidney patient at an early age has made realize that I must be more invested in myself than anyone else. Being an engaged patient means working in an active partnership at various levels in the healthcare system to not only improve one’s health but overall healthcare needs. As patients our ideas and knowledge are invaluable and can have an impact on the future of healthcare and treatment of kidney patients.
How engaged are you?