Communicating with Your Myeloma Healthcare Team

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Topics include: Living Well

Dr. Craig Hofmeister discusses how myeloma patients and their physicians can best communicate, leading to better overall care.

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Please remember the opinions expressed on Patient Power are not necessarily the views of our sponsors, contributors, partners or Patient Power. Our discussions are not a substitute for seeking medical advice or care from your own doctor. That’s how you’ll get care that’s most appropriate for you.

Andrew Schorr:

Dr. Hofmeister, a number of the patients I’ve talked to have said from their own perspective how important it is to have good communication with their doctor, and I know you work at that.  From the physician’s point of view, what would you advise patients so that they can feel more confident and more comfortable? 

Dr. Hofmeister:

I think the things that I would push for most, and this comes up a lot in the Midwest, is you can never be too pushy as a patient.  We love having informed patients.  We love having patient family members that are their own advocates, and you can never call enough, you can never be close enough, and the more we can be in touch with what’s going on from a patient’s perspective the better care we can provide. 

Andrew Schorr:

Some people feel, I’ve got to talk to the doctor.  Tell me a little bit about the relationship as far as the nurse being a wonderful point of contact when you have questions, to not feel like you always have to talk to the doc. 

Dr. Hofmeister:

In our team we have physicians, we have nurse practitioners and we have nurses, and a lot of times nurses and nurse practitioners are on the frontline of dealing with patients e-mails, messages and phone calls.  And patients sometimes think that we don’t hear about what’s going on, but actually that first line of communication creates an automatic thread through which we can go back and say, okay, when was the first time this patient called, what happened, what’s going on, and it’s a way for patients to communicate asynchronously so that I don’t have to be in town, even close to them, but I can get the right answer back to them very quickly.  Having a team that is communicating constantly about what’s going on with the patient we hope will provide better care. 

The goal here is trying to make sure that we’re in touch with patients’ side effects, with patients’ quality of life, and that they come to us quickly to say, you know, by the way, I’m noticing some tingling.  We like to know that long before, hey, my whole right leg is completely numb and I can’t feel anything in my hands.  The more there’s better communication between the caregiver team and the patient the better we can control quality of life, and we have to always adjust that with the patients’ labs and where their myeloma disease state is. 

This is a disease where communication amongst the healthcare team and with the patient is paramount because we have many effective drugs, and utilizing the drugs often in combination at different doses can allow us to get the best response with the best quality of life. 

Please remember the opinions expressed on Patient Power are not necessarily the views of our sponsors, contributors, partners or Patient Power. Our discussions are not a substitute for seeking medical advice or care from your own doctor. That’s how you’ll get care that’s most appropriate for you.


Page last updated on June 19, 2015