What to Ask Your Doctor About Your Stroke.

In addition to heading up the Stroke/Neuroscience Program at Long Beach Medical Center, Angie is a support group facilitator for Stroke Support Association.

On Wednesday, June 29, 2022, Angie West, MSN, RN, CCRN-K, SCRN, ANVP, the Program Director of Neuroscience/Stroke at Long Beach Medical Center and an SSA support group facilitator, gave a presentation titled “What to Ask Your Doctor About Your Stroke.”

In our support groups, we sometimes hear from stroke survivors that they don’t know much about the stroke they had.

“During your hospital stay or at a follow-up appointment,” Angie said, “you may feel too nervous and rushed to ask the questions you have. Beyond that, many of us remember only a small part of what is said during the visit.”

Even if your doctor explained your stroke, you may want a better understanding.  It is never too late to ask your doctor about even the most basic of questions. It helps to know what to ask.

To keep track of your questions and the doctor’s answers, Angie suggests keeping a journal or having a family member or caregiver do so for you.

What to put in your journal:

  • Questions to ask your doctor, plus the answers he or she gives you.
  • All of your medical appointments, including physical, occupational, and speech therapy.
  • A list of your medications

Basic questions to ask your doctor:

  • What kind of stroke did I have—ischemic, hemorrhagic, TIA, or other?
  • What caused my stroke?
  • What particular stroke risks apply to me (e.g., high blood pressure, high cholesterol, heart disease, sedentary lifestyle, age)?
  • How likely am I to experience a second stroke?
  • Additional questions to put on your list, as applicable:
  • What services and resources can help me and my family? How do I access them?
  • What skills do my family and I need to take care of me? How do I access them?
  • What can I expect one year from now?
  • What will I be able to do in the next few months?
  • Will I be given an appointment at a stroke clinic or with a stroke specialist when I leave the hospital?
  • Will I need rehabilitation? What types of rehabilitation will I be given? How much?
  • What is the next step in my care? Will I be admitted to hospital or discharged home?
  • Did the stroke affect my ability to swallow? Will I need a special diet?

You, as the patient, have a right to ask your doctor any questions you have. Keeping a list will streamline the process and make you more comfortable.

View Angie’s presentation slides here.


–Betsy Hardiman

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