I have lived with epilepsy for almost seven years, and I have come to the realization that the most important relationships I have had in my life are with God, my family, my husband and my neurologist. I became diagnosed with epilepsy within months of marrying my husband. I began with one primary doctor, then another, then was introduced to a neurologist then finally found the right neurologist and have been with him ever since. Finding the right neurologist is absolutely the most critical decision you can make in your fight against epilepsy.
One thing we don’t take into consideration when we first meet with a neurologist is the length of time we will ultimately be with him or her. It doesn’t seem to dawn on us that we will grow very familiar with the neurologists’ office and yes even the waiting room, and that we will possibly grow annoyed by the traffic and the way to the office as well as parking in the area.
Thank God, what a blessing, I love Dr. Singh, my neurologist. I truly do feel that Dr. Singh and his whole staff care about my battle with epilepsy and do have my back in this fight. I feel as though I have been blessed with how things have unfolded. At one point, I truly began to feel nervous, overwhelmed and frightened, and I thought to myself “Is there a neurologist out there I can count on?”. With that being said, however, I still encourage newly diagnosed epilepsy patients to select their neurologists carefully.
Though you may be antsy and eager to learn all you can about your condition, and find someone to take control of your epilepsy, there are many aspects that must be taken into consideration when choosing a neurologist.
What To Consider When Choosing A Neurologist
It’s important to make sure that your neurologist is covered by your insurance
Get referrals – Start by reviewing the referral list that your primary care doctor provided. You can add to this list by asking family, friends, and other healthcare providers for recommendations. Take the time to research the doctors’ credentials and experience. As you narrow down your list, call each neurologist’s office and ask for a consult appointment to meet and interview the doctor.
Convenient to travel to
Consider gender – It’s important to feel comfortable with your neurologist’s gender because you’ll need to openly discuss personal information. When it comes to certain types of neurological care, your own gender is definitely an important aspect to consider. Neurologists are becoming more skilled in caring for women and men differently. Ask the neurologist about his or her recent training and experience specifically related to your condition and your gender.
Research the quality of the hospital – Your neurologists’ hospital is your hospital. It’s for this reason, take into consideration the quality of care at the hospital where the neurologist can treat patients. Hospital quality should matter greatly to you because patients at top-rated hospitals have fewer complications and better survival rates. Even more so, think about whether the hospital’s location is important to you. If you need to go the hospital for tests or treatment, you want the location to encourage, rather than discourage timely care.
Communication Style – Choose a neurologist that you are comfortable talking and who supports your needs. When you first meet the neurologist, ask a question and notice how he or she responds. Does he or she welcome your questions and answer them in ways that you can easily understand? Find a neurologist who takes a positive interest in getting to know you, who will consider your treatment preferences, and who will show respect for your decision-making process.
Patient Satisfaction Surveys matter – Taking the time to read what other people have to say about a neurologist can shed light into how a neurologist practices medicine, as well as how his or her medical practice is done. Patient satisfaction surveys typically ask people about their experience with scheduling appointments, wait times, office environment, and office staff friendliness. You can learn about how well patients trust the neurologist, how much time he or she spends with their patients, and how well he or she answers questions. It’s definitely worth having a look at if you’re looking for the right neurologist for you!
Know what your insurance will cover – Your insurance coverage is a practical matter. To receive the most insurance benefits and pay the least out-of-pocket for your care, you might need to choose a neurologist who participates in your plan. You should still consider credentials, experience, outcomes, and hospital quality as you choose a neurologist from your plan.
Asking family and/or friends to help in your decision of selecting the right neurologist is always a great choice. As always, you can get referrals from your primary care doctor or the hospital referral center. Remember, be calm, breathe easy, and ease into this decision with absolute faith. If the first neurologist doesn’t seem to be the right match for your journey, meet with a different neurologist.
On this journey to overcome epilepsy, you deserve the best neurologist and when you have found him or her, you will undoubtedly have discovered an amazing companion in your battle against epilepsy.
I am a happily-ever-after wife, an Epilepsy Diagnosee, Advocate for Epilepsy Awareness (The Epilepsy Network), life lover & Christ inspired! Life is a journey and I'm loving every moment of it. Even the bumps in the road!