Communicate well with healthcare professionals

People receiving care and their caregivers need to be ACTIVE participants in their healthcare journey. This means remembering your own needs and rights in every conversation.
Being ACTIVE means that you should:


Adopt an attitude of self-worth


Center your needs


Take up time, space and resources


Identify your rights


Value your support system


Expect challenges

Making the most of medical appointments

Conversations with healthcare professionals can be difficult for many reasons. Try using the SPEAK strategies at your next appointment. People who SPEAK up have better healthcare outcomes.
Watch the videos below to learn more about SPEAK strategies.

Start at Home

Video Summary: How do you prepare for appointments? Choose a strategy to keep track of notes from appointments. Keep an updated health history, set priorities, and make notes. Include your support people


Present Requests

Video Summary: What do you need for an appointment to go well? Tell the health professional what they can do to help you. Use the prompt, “It would help me if you could...write down key words, speak slowly and facing me so I can hear you, etc.”


Explain the Issue

Video Summary: Clearly communicate why you are at a medical appointment without minimizing your concerns. Speak up and highlight what the issue is. Make it clear how you are feeling and explain your story.


Ask to Understand

Video Summary: Healthcare conversations can be hard to understand. Ask your healthcare provider to slow down, explain what a new word means, write down helpful notes, or to repeat themselves. Clarify your understanding by asking questions.


Keep Asking

Video Summary: What can you do with unanswered questions after an appointment? Ask for reports, notes, or print-outs from the appointment. Book follow-up appointments right away. Ask who you can contact if you have more questions. Find supports in the community and others who you can speak with.

The information above was created by the Waterloo Wellington Older Adult Strategy Community Members Network. Click here to learn more about them.

Tips for Communicating with Healthcare Professionals

Prepare for your next appointment

Use the YourCare+ Appointment Planner to plan questions and topics you want to discuss with your healthcare professional.
Helpful Resource


Tips for Communicating with Healthcare Professionals