Eastern Oregon Center for Independent Living
Empowering individuals with disabilities and seniors to improve the quality of their lives
Self-Advocacy: Being a Good Medical Consumer
You Know Your Body Best
- You are not your disability, and many health problems have nothing to do with your disability!
- Your personal history
- Your family health history
You Employ the Doctor: You’re the Boss
- You have the right to respectful, considerate treatment.
- You have the right to ask questions and to receive meaningful responses.
- You have the right to a complete physical exam, including (for women) routine gynecological exams and mammograms, and men, prostate exams.
- You have the right to have all exams conducted on tables and using equipment and techniques appropriate to your disability and respectful of your physical and emotional self.
- You have the right to have an interpreter present.
- You have the right to have your service animal present.
- You have the right to a second medical opinion.
- You have the right to change physicians.
- You have the right to educate your healthcare professional! Print out a copy or two (or three …) of How to Make Your Practice More Accessible (developed by the Kansas University Research & Training Institute on Independent Living and shared by the Association of Programs in Rural Independent Living); read it and give a copy to your provider.
Help Your Healthcare Provider Give You the Best Care
- Know what medications you are taking, what dosage, and why.
- Ask your provider what you can do to optimize your state of wellness:
- When you are scheduling the appointment, specify what you will need at the provider’s office to facilitate a meaningful appointment.
- Describe your complaint – why you’re there, even if for a routine exam – as thoroughly as possible:
- If your doctor prescribes medication:
Dream it! Plan it! Achieve It!