We always hope that the results of a diagnostic procedure, physical exam, or lab evaluation will bring good news. Unfortunately, that is not always the case. A disappointing, frightening, or inconclusive prognosis can leave you feeling confused and shaken. In addition to dealing with the emotional impact of the news, you will need to make critical decisions regarding your treatment. All of this can be an overwhelming process. Here are some things to think about.
Understand your treatment
Take the time to research and understand your prognosis. Having knowledge about your condition can allow you to make effective decisions about your treatment. Understanding your treatment options can help you feel like you have more control and increase your ability to cope.
Before moving forward with any major medical procedure, be sure you know what to expect before, during, and after the procedure. If possible, explore other options and get a second opinion. Prior to surgery, for example, ask questions about:
- Alternative and less-invasive treatments
- The surgeon’s experience with your specific condition and the surgery required
- The typical length of recovery and what to expect during recovery
- The expected outcome
- Problems and side effects that have been reported
Have a family member or friend with you during these discussions to help you take notes and ask follow-up questions. For more information on what to ask, see Your Role as a Healthcare Consumer.
Is your condition chronic?
Seek advice from your doctor or a medical professional to decipher whether your condition is chronic or not. Your doctor can provide you with advice and guidance that can help you adjust to an ongoing or chronic condition.
These are some questions to ask about living with a chronic condition:
- What should I do to manage my condition?
- How much exercise should I get each day?
- Are there any foods I should avoid or have more of?
- Are there any drug-nutrient interactions that I should be aware of?
- Is there any alternative to taking the prescribed medication?
- Is it safe to take this medication with the others I take?
- What are the side effects of this new medication?
- What health screening tests do I need now and in the future?
Use your support system
Use your support system to help with the process of finding treatment and assign tasks that can help alleviate the burden on you. Your loved ones and community can help provide support, relief, and guidance through this overwhelming time.
Help is available
For assistance in understanding your diagnosis, obtaining second opinions, navigating the healthcare system, and managing health benefit claims, contact Health Advocate. This benefit is provided with all Medical Trust healthcare plans. Registered nurses, backed by a team of medical directors and benefits and claims specialists, can help answer your questions about results, recommended treatment options, costs, and coverage, locate the right doctor for your needs, and schedule appointments.
An unexpected diagnosis can take an emotional toll on patients, family members, and friends. The medical benefits offered through the Medical Trust include access to the Employee Assistance Program (EAP). Offered through Cigna Behavioral Health, the EAP is a free, confidential, 24-hour service that connects you with counselors to help you with immediate health needs, assistance with therapy, family, and legal counseling and referrals. The plan covers unlimited telephonic consultations and up to 10 face-to-face counseling sessions per issue at no member cost. To access EAP services, call (866) 395-7794, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, or sign in to Cigna Behavioral Health (password: episcopal). For more information, see Employee Assistance Program.
Health benefits are offered through plans maintained by Church Pension Group Services Corporation (doing business as The Episcopal Church Medical Trust), 19 East 34th Street, New York, NY 10016.
This material is for informational purposes only and is not intended to be professional medical advice or treatment. Always seek the advice of a healthcare professional with any questions about personal healthcare status and prior to making changes in approaches to diet and exercise. This material is not a guarantee of coverage under any Episcopal Church Medical Trust health plan.
Unless otherwise noted, websites referenced herein that are outside the www.cpg.org domain are not associated with The Church Pension Fund and its affiliates (collectively, the Church Pension Group) and the Church Pension Group is not responsible for the content of any such websites.