Communicating with Providers

The recovery from an injury can be a long and challenging process.  You are likely to interact with a number of providers during this time.  The providers on your treatment team may include primary care physicians, physiatrists, nurses, therapists, psychologists, and psychiatrists amongst others. Having good communication with your providers can help you feel more comfortable during appointments and build trust, making the recovery process easier.

 Prior to your appointment1,2

  • Make a list of questions that you would like your provider to answer during your next meeting
  • Make a list of all the prescribed and over-the-counter medications and supplements you are currently taking and at what dose so that providers can ensure they are not suggesting medications that may have a negative interaction
  •  Tell your provider if you need an interpreter or special resources due to hearing and vision problems
  • If it will be your first time visiting a new provider, gather any medical records you have that would be useful to the new provider.  You can send these medical records ahead of time or bring them with you to your appointment.

During your appointment1,2

  • If you do not understand what your provider is recommending, ask questions until you do understand
  • Tell your provider about your concerns and any side effects you may be having from treatments
  • Don’t be embarrassed to be honest with your provider
  • Don’t withhold information
  • Take notes or bring a family member or friend to take notes for you
  • Ask your provider to write down information/instructions for you
  • Ask your provider for written material about your condition
  • Ask for book or website recommendations to learn more about your situation

After your appointment1

  • Follow your provider’s recommendations
  • If you cannot afford your medications, if your home therapy program is too difficult, or if other problems arise, let your provider know so that they can help you problem-solve solutions.
  • If you are not happy with your provider, discuss your concerns with him or her
  • Seek a second opinion if concerns persist


  1. Speak up: Become a partner in your healthcare. NIH News in Health. 2007. Accessed: August 12, 2014. Available at
  2. Wegmann J. 10 tips for communicating more effectively with physicians – and others – for your mental health. Psychology Today. Published: July 19, 2009. Accessed: August 12, 2014.  Available at