What to Look for in Your Health Care Providers

When it comes to your health, you definitely want care you can trust. Fortunately, as stroke care continues to improve, standards and evidence-based guidelines have been developed to help direct stroke care. Members of your stroke care team are required to have extensive training and experience in order to be able to care for stroke patients. 

Of course, besides the objective qualifications, if you need long-term medical care, it helps if you and your health care providers get along well.



There are some helpful tips to ensure that you can connect effectively with your health care team- including getting the most out of your doctor visits, communicating effectively, and overcoming problems that stem from the inherently vague symptoms that can be a part of stroke recovery.

But if you do not feel that your health care team is giving you the right attention that you need, you certainly can and should take steps to ensure that you have a doctor and a health care team with whom you feel comfortable. In fact, you deserve to see health care providers that you like and trust and gladly choose to return to.


Qualities to Look for in a Health Care Team. 

You, as an individual, might value some of the following qualities more than others.

Listening to You

You naturally want a team of health care providers who listen carefully and respectfully to what you have to say. Many stroke symptoms are subtle and even unusual.

You need to know that you will receive attention even if you express strange or peculiar symptoms, because that is a part of stroke recovery. 

Additionally, your family may have some observations of symptoms or behaviors that you may not be aware of. This is very normal in stroke recovery. Your team needs to listen to you and those who are caring for you at home to fully understand all aspects of your condition.


Explaining Your Problem and Stroke Care Plan Respectfully 

A stroke can be confusing for even the most astute patients and families. The actual injury is in the brain, yet affects functions related to thinking, vision, speech, strength, balance or sensation. Problems may evolve over time. Medical treatments may be risky or complicated. A good stroke team will explain what you need to know to your satisfaction.


A Connected Team

Because there are so many aspects of stroke care- the neurological examination, imaging tests, medical tests, treatments, rehabilitation, management of disability issues and so forth- a team that has a good workflow in place can make your life much smoother. Be aware that your physician cannot be available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Generally, doctors work in groups that cover for each other on call. If you have an urgent issue or an emergency when your doctor is not on call, it is likely that one of your doctor’s partners will manage your problem. Your doctor will be brought up to speed on your condition in a timely manner.



If you have noticed that your doctor did not see one of your medical tests or clinical notes, the doctor’s response will be a good indicator of whether you will ‘click’ well with each other. Look for a doctor who can easily admit, “I didn't see that.” If your doctor can acknowledge that he is human, you will likely get a nicer and more ‘real’ connection.


Receptive to Side Effects and Unexpected Problems 

Your medical team knows what to expect when it comes to stroke care. However, every medication, medical test and illness has the potential to trigger rare and exceptional side effects or outcomes. If you happen to have an extremely unusual result, it is reassuring if your medical team takes the time to figure out why your reaction or outcome is occurring.


Exceptional Expertise

Once in a while, stroke patients may need a highly specialized expert to consult on a perplexing situation. Most stroke survivors do not need such specialized consultation. If you need a highly specialized stroke expert, you might need to travel hours from your hometown and it may be difficult to get a convenient appointment. After that, your regular doctor who you are comfortable with will e able to continue on with your medical care.


Stroke patients often need long-term medical care. There are different features of a health care provider and stroke team. Each individual stroke patient may value some traits more than others.

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