Having a plan – a short guide for patients

Following on from my blog on making the most of remote consultations, I realised it would be helpful to talk about the outcome patients should expect from consultations (wherever they are conducted). This blog is based on my clinical experience, on feedback from patients, carers and relatives, and on my experience of helping look after my mother at the end of her life.

There are some simple things that everyone should come away with at the end of a consultation. Knowing the plan & what the next steps are. Where to find information on what has been discussed and what to do if things get worse. If this information isn’t made clear, ask ‘what’s the plan?’

Consultation information:

At the end of the consultation you must:

  1. Have agreed a plan (even if this is ‘watch and wait’, or a referral on)
  2. Have written information on what has been discussed & where to find support
  3. Know the signs of improvement or the signs of deterioration to look for
  4. Know when & who to contact if things change
  5. Know who to contact in an emergency

At the end of the consultation:

At the end of the consultation, you should know:

  1. That your concerns have been listened to
  2. That the agreed actions will be taken
  3. That you can seek a second opinion if needed
  4. That the consultation will be communicated to all involved in the patient’s care

You should also receive:

Written information on the consultation. This may be in the form of notes, a care plan or visit summary & copies of ALL communication between clinicians.

‘No decision about me without me.’

‘If you’re not provided your records (as you should be) , you may wish to keep a record of your consultations yourself and / or record them. As a clinician I encourage this.’ – Steve Turner RGN; RMN; Ba(Hons); P.G. Dip. Ed

In my next blog I’ll look at communication and documentation. What form should this take? Covering all options including: online access to records, patient held notes, visit summaries, assessment letters, patient notebooks, body maps, recordings, images. How can we ensure patients & all involved have this information in real time?

Previous blogs in this series:

A guide for patients on remote clinical consultations

Giving a history – guide for patients

Steve Turner

I am now retired and writing on what I learned about patient-led care.

‘Putting patients in charge of their care, sharing information, learning together’



Author: Steve Turner

Date last updated: 06.03.2023

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