If you are a Federal employee who has been injured at work or become ill from your work, you’ll need to visit a DOL (Department of Labor) doctor as part of the claim process. Consulting with this doctor will help you move through the process smoothly. Here are some helpful tips for that visit.
Bring someone with you.
Times of injury can often be confusing, especially when you are trying to juggle details, doctors’ instructions, and more on top of the pain you are experiencing. This is the time to tap the shoulder of someone you trust and get a bit of support. They could help you with transportation to and from your appointment if you needed. They can help you remember to ask specific questions. They can also be your advocate and help you work out how your new doctor appointments, treatments, and prescriptions can integrate into your schedule. Sometimes when you are facing a new situation, having someone with you can make it feel like you have one more person on your team. Friends and family can be valuable allies in your path back to health.
Bring a notebook.
BEFORE your visit, write down every question you have. Then go through them with the doctor one by one. This will prevent the ever so common “Oh, I forgot to ask the doctor…” situation. The DOL doctor will ask you specific questions to assess what has happened, and you should take notes on any instructions that they give you. It’s very important to follow their advice about your health condition.
Here are a few example questions you may want to ask:
- Will I need to make any changes to my daily activities?
- Will I need to make any changes at work?
- Are there any symptoms I should look out for and contact your office if they appear?
- How long do you expect before I can… (be back on my feet, exercise, come off this medicine, etc.)
- When would you like to see me again to follow up?
- What might be the signs that I am healing well? (Sometimes an increase in pain or a strange sensation can be a good thing!)
Bring any documentation.
Write down exactly what happened that led up or caused your illness or injury. If you had to previously visit an Emergency Room or Urgent Care facility, bringing copies of doctors’ reports or diagnostic tests can be extremely valuable. This will help you answer the questions the doctor has for you during your visit. If you have a specific dietary regimen or take certain supplements, let the doctor know about them.
Bring your medicine.
Bring any medication and prescriptions with you that you already take. In the event your doctor needs to prescribe something new, he or she will want to be certain it won’t interfere with the medicines you already take.
Bring a phone.
Built into almost all phones now are voice recording applications that can be a useful tool. Ask your doctor if they mind recording the consultation. This will allow you to review anything you may have missed taking your notes. For example, instead of having to worry about something like “Didn’t the doctor say something about avoiding Calcium?”, you can go back to the recording and know that they actually suggested increasing it.
Doctor visits can be frightening or confusing for some. One of the best things you can do to make things go smoother is to be prepared.