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Doctor Finder Checklist

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Rehab Checklist

Choosing the right doctor.  In this age of specialization, it is wise to find a doctor with appropriate credentials, and expertise in the areas of your interest. The objective is to find a doctor who is technically up to date, and who cares about your suffering and the suffering of your family. If the doctor does not have special expertise and appropriate credentials in head injury, find someone who does.

    You will want to find someone who will trust you and help you to identify and manage your own impairments. Not every doctor is willing to allow you this kind of freedom and support. Before anything else is settled, tell the doctor specifically what you want. If the doctor is unwilling to cooperate with you, keep looking until you find the right one for you.

      Of equal importance is the type of treatment or program.  A 1998 Report by the National Institutes of Heath found that many brain rehabilitation programs provided little appreciable benefit. It also found many brain injury rehab treatments to be expensive, unproven, and lacking in scientific rigor. 

     An unproved treatment is often described as any medical practice or intervention that: 

  • Lacks sufficient documentation of its safety and effectiveness against specific diseases and conditions
  • Is not generally taught in U.S. medical schools 

  • Is not generally reimbursable by health insurance providers.
     Remember, it is your right to be responsible for your own health care decisions. It is important that you feel comfortable with your doctors and confident that they know you, and your specific medical or rehab needs. It is equally important that they be knowledgeable about resources in the community in which you live. 

     The following checklist will help you determine whether your doctor possesses essential qualifications.   A high number of "yes" answers in each category is a good sign. Another good sign is the amount of special training and certification in brain injury.  In fact, the more years of training and experience the better.  Of equal importance is the percentage of the practice that is devoted to treating disorders like yours.

     Finally, set rehabilitation goals for your self. Ask yourself what do you want to be able to do after rehab that you are unable to do now.  Discuss it with the doctor to see how compatible your goals are with the treatment being offered.  Any such treatment plan should include specific measurable objectives that are linked  to a timeline.  Then ask the doctor what diagnostic tests will be employed before, during, and after treatment to determine whether or not the treatment is helping you to reach your goal.

   You will soon discover that a good doctor is willing to help you by providing you with the care and support you need. Let your informed feelings help you. The  Doctor Finder Checklist will help you choose the best doctor for you. Should you desire further assistance finding the right  doctor call Head Injury Hotline 206-621-8558

 Doctor Finder Checklist

    Background Information
1. What type of license and certification does the doctor have?
2. Is the doctor Board Certified, Board Eligible? Yes   No
3. Does the doctor have special training in brain injury? Yes   No
4. Is the doctor's license current, has it ever been suspended?  Yes   No
5. Is the doctor in good standing with professional organizations? Yes   No
6. Is the doctor viewed favorably by the medical and rehabilitation 
professional community outside the program ? 
Yes   No
7. Is the doctor affiliated with any area hospitals? Yes   No
8. Does the doctor carry malpractice insurance? Yes   No

     TBI Expertise & diagnostic Tests
1. How much experience do you have  treating cases like mine?
2. When was your practice founded, what is its guiding philosophy?
3. Will you spend time with me and my and family to truly understand 
our needs? 
Yes   No
4. What sources of funding /payment plan do you accept? Yes   No
5. Are treatments custom-tailored to individual client's needs? Yes   No
6. Which diagnostic tests will you employ in my case?   Why? Yes   No
7. What are they designed to reveal? Yes   No
8. Will you review the results with me? Yes   No
9. Are such tests painful or disorienting? Yes   No
10. Will I need an escort following such tests? Yes   No
11. Will you provide patient education materials, and written instructions? Yes   No
12. Will the diagnostic evaluation include a thorough review of past  
medical/rehabilitative care and treatment? 
Yes   No
13. Will you get previous medical, school records,  other information that 
might be needed to evaluate my case?
Yes   No
14. Will the evaluation include objective, quantifiable goals for the
treatment to be evaluated against? 
Yes   No
15. Will the evaluation specify the length of time the treatment would take to  
accomplish the goals stated in the evaluation?
Yes   No
16. Will the evaluation include a detailed projection of  program cost and 
outcome goals?
Yes   No
17. Is my condition the type that you commonly treat?  With what results? Yes   No
18. What type of program options and / or support services are available for 
my family?  Will they need special training regarding my return home?
Yes   No
19. How will this treatment support me in my return to work.
20. Will you arrange for me and my family to speak with former patients? Yes   No

     Treatment & Patient Care
1. What is your approach to treatment?
2. How do you view my role in treatment?
3. What are my rights & responsibilities?  Do you have a written policy?  
May I have a copy?
4. Do you have a procedure for receiving and resolving patient and family  
complaints concerning the quality of care? 
Yes   No
5. Are you willing to help me appreciate and manage my condition? Yes   No
6. How should I prepare for our appointments?
7. May I expect reminder calls prior to our appointments? Yes   No
8. What type of treatments do you anticipate in my case? Yes   No
9. What are the relative risks of such treatments?
10. Will you provide all of my evaluation and treatments yourself?  Yes   No
11. What are the qualifications of other staff who provide such 
evaluation and treatments? 
12. If equipment, is used in procedures, are staff properly trained to use and care 
for the equipment? 
Yes   No
13. How often is the procedure is performed?  With what success?
14. How long after treatment begins can I expect to notice improvement?
15. What form will such improvements take?
16. Are such improvements gradual or sudden?
17. When will I feel like myself again?
18. Are such improvements measurable? Yes   No
19. What will you use to measure them? Yes   No
20. Does such treatment involve pain or discomfort? Yes   No
21. Are such treatments very time consuming?  How so?  Yes   No
22. Can the treatments be performed at home? Yes   No
23. Can treatments be self administered?  Or do they require assistance?  
Are they difficult to learn? 
Yes   No
24. What are the side effects of such treatments? Yes   No
25. Should I discontinue treatment if side effects appear? Yes   No
26. Are such side effects permanent or temporary? Yes   No
27. What are the costs for treatment? Yes   No
28. What is the length of treatment?  Yes   No
29. How will missed appointments be billed. 
30. Will I have access to my medical file upon request? 
31. Will you coordinate my care with other doctors? Yes   No
32. Will I be given periodic progress reports, and detailed cost statements? Yes   No
33. Will the treatment be adjusted to reflect progress and / or setbacks
34. Will you develop a discharge plan to ensure appropriate community 
re-integration after 
I leave your care?
Yes   No
35. How do you choose the other programs, agencies or individuals to 
whom you refer patients? 
36. How will you preserve the confidentially of communication between us?
37. Under what circumstances is specific patient information released?

  Sensibilities & General Impressions
1. Demeanor, attitude, appearance of doctor and staff?
2. Are the buildings and grounds suitable to the nature of the services   
provided to the patients served?
Yes   No
3. Office decor, lighting, atmosphere?
4. Timely service, friendly, helpful staff Yes   No
5. Did doctor & staff seem knowledgeable about your condition? Yes   No
6. Does s/he have trial or personal injury claims resolution experience?  
With what success?
Yes   No
7. Willingness and /or qualifications to testify for you? Yes   No
8. Did s/he seem to care about you as a person? Yes   No
9. Were your questions answered to your satisfaction? Yes   No
10. Were answers provided in terms that you understood? Yes   No
11. Were billing cycles or payment plans discussed with you? Yes   No

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