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Understanding your Diagnosis

What is Happening Now?

Getting a new diagnosis or having a change in your medical situation in the hospital can feel unsettling. Make sure you have a clear understanding from your doctors about any new diagnoses. Ask for information about any tests or treatments they are recommending and the role of any new physicians (consultants) in your care.  Additional information about diagnosis and treatmentsimilar to those you would ask in a doctor’s office.

Who Can Get Me Information and Help in the Hospital?

Your hospital physician is the leader of your medical team while you are in the hospital. He or she summarizes all of the information from the other consultants, tests and treatments and makes sense of them. This is the person you should look to for detailed information and for your plan of care.

Sometimes your hospital physician may ask another specialist (for example, a cardiologist or an oncologist) to share the role of team leader in the hospital. This should be discussed with you and the reasons explained.

Be sure to share your experience with pain or other symptoms with your physician. Ask him or her to explain what the medical team plans to do to help you. Additional information about symptoms and talking to your doctor.

In addition to your physicians and nurses, many other services and resources are available in the hospital. They may include patient representative, case manager, patient advocate, pastoral care, or social work services. Information about these support services is usually in your admission folder. Do not hesitate to contact them.

While you are in the hospital:

  • Get the information you need
  • Get your symptoms managed
  • Establish a plan for your care