How can I advocate for myself as a patient?

Ask questions if you do not understand. Some examples:

  • What is my health problem?
  • What do I need to do?
  • Why do I need to do this?

It’s Your Right to Ask! Who needs to ask questions? You do! Everyone has questions about their health. You are not the only one who sometimes finds things confusing. Ask questions to understand how to get better and how to take care.

What if I ask and I still don’t understand?

Say, “This is new to me. Please explain again.” Don’t be embarrassed if you still don’t understand. Ask more questions if you want to. Repeat back instructions to make sure it is what your healthcare provider said.

When possible, have a family member or friend accompany you to appointments. They can:

  • Remind you what to say
  • Take notes and get information
  • Help you understand your health conditions or health concerns
  • Focus on lifelong learning

How can I improve my Healthcare Literacy?

  • By practicing reading and writing skills daily (e.g., reading books, newspapers, magazines, letters, notes or e-mails)

Patient Resources

How to Push for Answers

When You’re Not Heard as a Caregiver

How to Make a Complaint that Gets Heard