Sometimes it can be difficult to know what questions you should ask about the care you or your loved one is receiving. Listed below are some sample questions you can ask your health care team to get a better understanding of your treatment plan.

General questions or topics:

  • Who will know the information I give you?
  • Is it ok for me to see you without my parents/spouse/family members in the room?
  • What is wrong with me?
  • What do I do when I experience pain?
  • Who do I contact when I have concerns about my care or services?
  • Did you wash your hands?
  • How long will I be in the hospital? (Remember, we may not always be able to answer this question)

Questions you may want to ask about your illness or symptoms:

  • What do you think is causing my problem?
  • What tests will you do to diagnose the problem?
  • How safe are the tests?
  • What is the long-term outlook with and without treatment?
  • If my symptoms get worse, what should I do on my own? When should I contact you?
  • Are there any activities or foods I should avoid?
  • When can I return to work or school?

Questions you may want to ask if your doctor recommends surgery:

  • Why do I need to have surgery? Do I need to have it right away?
  • Are there any alternatives (other treatments) to surgery? Do I have a choice between inpatient and outpatient surgery?
  • Can a family member or friend stay with me before or after surgery?
  • What are the risks of this surgery?
  • What are the expected benefits?
  • Where can I get a second opinion?
  • What kind of anesthesia will I need?
  • How much pain can I expect to have? How will it be treated?
  • What will happen during this surgery?
  • When will you talk with me about how the surgery went?
  • How long will my recovery take? What will it involve?
  • Will I need therapy or any other special care or equipment?
  • Will surgery have any lasting effects on my health and/or appearance? What are they?
  • How many surgeries like this one have you done before?