Radiate Wellness Logo

The Power of Self Advocacy in Your Healthcare

Jul 28, 2020

Here in the United States, navigating the healthcare system can be difficult. Premiums and insurance bills are getting more expensive, and appointment times with providers feel shorter with each visit, leaving many of us feeling helpless and discouraged.To help bridge the gap between what you feel like you should be getting out of your health care and what you’re actually getting, let’s discuss 3 key tools for becoming a better self advocate and an active participant in your care.

Tool #1: Know what you want from each visit

As we age and go through different seasons in life, our needs change. This means we also need different things from our healthcare team over time. This might involve finding new providers or having a conversation with your current team to communicate your needs and expectations about your care. Don’t forget that choosing a new provider is like any other interview process – you’re interviewing them to make sure that they’re a good fit for you and will be able to help you meet your goals. Then, at each visit, have a specific goal or outcome you’d like to achieve and clearly communicate that with your practitioner. So instead of going in and saying “I have this problem, how can you help?”, come up with some specific questions you have about what’s happening and how to find a resolution. Determining what it is you want answered and what you want to walk away from the appointment with will help set you up to be an active participant in your care and treatment plan, so that you don’t walk away feeling like it was a one way conversation or that you were steamrolled with unhelpful information. And while preparation is key, you also need to shift your mindset around your role within the team – you are as much a member of the team as anyone else; after all, you are the expert of your own body! Knowing that you can steer the conversation where you want it to go is a powerful thing.

Tool #2: Lab literacy

One thing that has been extremely useful for my clients is helping them understand and learn which labs to request, and also how to read and interpret their lab results. Depending on your symptoms, you may need to request testing that isn’t on a normal or routine panel. When it comes to your results, it’s important to understand the difference between the standard lab ranges and functional lab ranges. Standard ranges are based on the averages of the people who get the labs done, and therefore don’t necessarily reflect optimal wellness, so understanding the functional ranges will help reveal where you need further support to feel your best. This is where working with functional practitioners can be really beneficial to help get your numbers into a more optimal range, but having this knowledge can also help you have more engaging conversations with conventional doctors.

Tool #3: Find practitioners that are willing to look at you as an integrated person

You are not your diagnosis, or your symptoms. These are just part of the bigger picture that is you as a whole person, and your experiences! How the different systems of the body are interrelated and how they work together is something I always try to teach my clients. Once you’re able to see yourself as integrated and get a glimpse of how everything is working together, you’ll be better equipped to identify practitioners that are using that same type of language. So if you find yourself being treated just like a symptom, or a diagnosis, or if you are being treated over and over again but there is no follow up about your diet and lifestyle, this may be a red flag and a sign that your provider isn’t seeing the whole picture.

So there you have it, my 3 main tools for becoming a better self advocate within the context of our healthcare system:

1. Be prepared, have outcomes that you really want to get out of each session, and make sure that you get your goals addressed and your desires met in that office visit or call.

2. Become familiar with examining your labs and tracking trends over time.

3. Lastly, really coming to this idea of seeing yourself as an integrated body, so that you are able to look for practitioners that also see you that way.

With these in your toolbox, the hope is that you’ll be able to attract practitioners that are able to help you, your goals, and your health, but also that you begin to put yourself in the driver’s seat. This is no small thing, when we’re talking about really caring for ourselves and building a team around us that’s going to advocate for us as well. As always, if you have any questions or need more support around navigating your care, don’t hesitate to reach out. I’m always happy to chat.

0 Comments

Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published.

Hi, I’m Frankie
Becoming a Functional Nutritionist was born out of my love of working in women’s health and my own health crisis that hit in 2011. It was then that I realized that the body cannot be taken for granted. With two cancer scares in one year, I decided to take my health into my own hands, guided by the intelligence of functional medicine. As a Functional Diagnostic Nutrition Practitioner, I use data and mindfulness techniques to motivate change. My client relationships are filled with loving connections and precise planning.

Keep In Touch

Top Posts

Advocating For Your Health

For many women, chronic symptoms send us spiraling into a state of overwhelm. We frantically search for answers for something that is going to make it better or help it make sense. In this state, we are far from ourselves - hysterical and desperate. Shock and fear can...

Health Care Gaps

How often have you gone to the doctor for a health concern only to be dismissed or told that what you are feeling is inaccurate? In an age where the average medical appointment is 15 minutes at best, how is a doctor able to listen to what is the concern, diagnose, and...

Unpacking Metabolism

Unpacking metabolism is a topic that is a common thread for so many of us whether we are dealing with fatigue, weight issues, digestive issues, or even hormonal issues. It is incredible how much we can have different symptoms across the board but metabolism is still...

Summer Reset

Happy summertime to you! Though I know some folks have been feeling the summer temperatures for a while, there is something about June that makes the summer season start to feel more legit. Like it is here and you better get ready for all it has to offer! That is...

Stress and Blood Glucose Levels

Do you know of any friends or family who has diabetes or pre-diabetes? I bet most people reading this know of at least one because that is how prevalent it is. Today, one in ten U.S. adults has diabetes, and if trends continue, one in five will have it by 2025. An...

Managing Cortisol’s Ups and Downs

Cortisol gets a bad rap most of the time. Everyone wants to talk about the negatives of what cortisol does, but what often doesn't get the recognition is the benefits that cortisol has for our body. Today I want to highlight both sides of the stress story so that when...

Gut-Brain Connection

Have you ever found yourself saying you have a “gut feeling” about something? Or maybe you’ve experienced “butterflies in your stomach”? These common phrases actually have some basis in science and help showcase the connection between our gut and our brain....

Put Yourself In The Driver’s Seat

Put yourself in the driver's seat when it comes to stress. Understanding stress is the first important step to dealing with it. Many of us think stress happens to us, similar to the quote, “Life is happening to me.” Flip the script and put it another way; life is...

How To Own Your Health Because It Belongs To You

How can you own your health? You're responsible for it, so why not own it? This message is getting lost in the slew of things that are going on in the world right now. It can feel like a place full of a lot of fear where we can feel paralyzed as to what to do. And...

Ready For A New Approach To Your Healthcare?

Have you ever felt discouraged leaving a doctor’s appointment? Maybe you felt bothered by the lack of time a doctor spent in the room with you, or perhaps you didn’t feel heard because the nurses and physicians were rushing through the appointment, talking at you, and...
Call Now Button