Working on your healthcare plan
In many cases, your doctor will tell you about a healthcare or treatment plan that they believe is best for your type of pain. Any decision about your treatment and health requires consent from you and/or your parent(s). If you are not sure about what you are being asked to do, feel that you need more information, or wish to learn more, ask your healthcare team. It’s very important to work with your healthcare team when making decisions about your health.
You might not always agree with what your doctor or healthcare team suggests as a treatment plan. Sometimes you may want to try a treatment that your healthcare team disagrees with. If this happens, feel free to seek a second opinion from another doctor. Your current healthcare team or family doctor should be able to direct you to another healthcare provider to give you a second opinion. You can also look for other experts with help from other people around you such as your parents.
Once you understand and agree with a pain management plan, follow it to make sure you get the best results. If you are finding it difficult to follow, or if something is not working for you, talk to your team so they can try to help you.
Take action (with the support of others)
Two of the most important things you can do during your treatment are to:
Take your medications as prescribed
Show up to your scheduled treatments and appointments on time.
Following through with taking the medications that you are prescribed
Talk to your nurse or doctor immediately if your medications are causing problems for you, if you are having side effects or if you have questions about your medications and their effects. It's important to tell your healthcare team if you are having trouble sticking to your treatment plan so that it can be modified. For example, you might not take your medication on Friday because you want to go out to a party on Saturday, where there might be alcohol. You might feel nervous about telling your healthcare team that this is the reason that you’re not following your treatment plan, but if you communicate with them, they might be able to put you on a different medication that does not prohibit alcohol use.
Showing up to scheduled treatments and appointments
Attending your appointments is especially important as you transition to adult care, where you might lose your place if you miss too many appointments. If you are unable to attend a scheduled appointment, tell your healthcare team as soon as you can so that they can make a new appointment for you.
Many doctors also have very strict cancellation policies – make sure to check with your healthcare practitioner before cancelling or missing an appointment. Also remember that if you miss your appointment, someone else could have taken it, so by missing your appointment, you are actually increasing the waitlist for everyone. Even if you are able to reschedule, try your best to keep to your scheduled appointments. Delays in treatment can affect how well the treatment works. Your treatments will often be most effective when you stick to your plan.
Communicate your goals
You probably have short- and long-term goals that have nothing to do with pain management but rely on your ability to manage your pain. These goals might include education and career aspirations, seeing your friends and doing your favourite activities or hobbies. These goals are specific to you, so it’s important to communicate them to your healthcare team.
If you have a favourite activity, for instance, you might want to know how the treatment will affect your ability to do that activity, now or in the future. You can also ask what kinds of activities you will still be able to do during your treatment and what activities might be difficult or impossible.