To get the most from your consultation with a GP, neurologist, MS nurse or other health professional, it helps to go prepared with questions to ask and an idea of the sort of information you'd like to know.
It might not be possible for them to provide answers for all of your questions during the appointment, but by being prepared you can cover the most important topics you want to discuss. If it doesn’t all get discussed in the meeting, the health professional may be able to contact you later with some further information.
Preparing for your appointments
- Before your appointment, think about what has happened since your last appointment. Is there anything you would particularly like to discuss? Or receive more information about?
- Make a list of the questions you want to ask. List these in order of importance in case time runs out.
- Take a pad of paper with you so that you can make notes.
- Some people feel it is useful to take someone with them who understands their situation and can be both supportive and also listen to what is being said.
Example questions to ask about symptoms
- What is causing this symptom?
- Will it improve or get worse?
- Will this symptom stay forever?
- Are there any treatment options?
- Are there likely to be any triggers which set it off?
- What can I do myself to manage this symptom?
- What shall I do if my symptoms get worse?
- What shall I do if I experience new symptoms?
Example questions to ask about treatments
- What are my treatment options?
- What are the pros and cons of each option?
- Why should I consider taking this particular treatment?
- How effective is this treatment?
- Are there any side effects or risks associated with this treatment? If so, what are they?
- Is there anything that can be done to reduce the impact of side effects or the risks?
- Does the treatment interact with or counteract any other treatments I am taking?
- How long will I need treatment for?
- How will I know if the treatment is working?
- What will happen if I don’t have any treatment?
- Is there anything I can do to help myself?
- Where can I go for more information?
Example questions to ask about tests
- What are the tests for?
- Will they hurt, or are there risks involved?
- Where do I have to go to have these tests?
- How and when will I get the results?
- What impact could these tests results have on my treatment options?
Tips for making the most of your appointments
- Be honest about your symptoms. If you are having a good day when you see your health professional, describe your symptoms on a bad day. Don't forget to tell them how you feel.
- During the consultation, try not to feel pressurised or rushed.
- Don’t be afraid to ask for clarification or for something to be repeated, if you do not fully understand.
- Note down key points from the discussion to help you remember everything.
- In some cases, the health professional you are seeing may not be an expert in MS and you may need to be referred on to an MS specialist.
- Discuss any feelings or concerns about a treatment and the impact it may have on daily life. Check whether there is a leaflet, or other material, explaining treatments or tests.
- Feel free to ask for specific reasons why they do not think a treatment or particular course of action is suitable for you. If you wish, you could ask them to refer you for a second opinion. Most will be willing to arrange this.
- Ask about any follow up appointments that may be necessary.
- If you feel the appointment was too short or rushed, ask for another one to discuss any questions or concerns further.
Last reviewed: September 2015
This page will be reviewed within three years