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Taking an Active Role in Your Recovery

PREPARED PATIENT BLOG | November 12, 2014 | Alexandra Rosas

I was once someone who never felt that I'd be normal again. But recovery is made up of small steps that lead us to a successful life – these steps toward wellness matter, because being active versus passive about your recovery greatly increases the likelihood of a positive outcome...

Why Attend a Patient Support Group Twenty Years Later? 'Because I Remember'

PREPARED PATIENT BLOG | November 3, 2014 | Jack Aiello

I was reluctant to attend. I didn't have leukemia and am not a "touchy-feely" person, which was my perception of a support group. However, I dragged my IV pole of medications and went to this meeting where I met my first fellow myeloma patient named Jim – finally, someone who had the same disease as me. So to this day, whenever I meet with one or a group of myeloma patients, I make the following plea...

Stress Is US

PREPARED PATIENT BLOG | September 8, 2014 | Jane Sarasohn Kahn

"Reality is the leading cause of stress among those in touch with it," Lily Tomlin once quipped. So it's no surprise, then, that one-half of the people in the U.S. have had a major stressful event or experience in the last year. And health tops the list...

Don't Forget the Hefty Price We Pay to Engage in Health

PREPARED PATIENT BLOG | June 12, 2014 | Jessie Gruman

Media-fueled flip-flops and research breakthroughs on lifestyle and health behaviors are wearing down my usual patience with the provisional nature of science. Even simple dietary recommendations like lower fat/salt recommendations have become complicated as old truisms are overturned by new evidence. So I'm asking: To whom should I turn for meaningful guidance about modifying my risk for illness and boosting my health?

Caring for the Whole Patient

PREPARED PATIENT BLOG | May 27, 2014 | Carolyn Thomas

When I was discharged from the intensive care unit in cardiology, not one of the nurses, residents or cardiologists asked if I'd be able to afford the fistful of expensive new cardiac meds I'd been prescribed. Not one asked if there was anybody at home to help take care of me there, or if there was anybody at home who needed me to take care of them. Not one asked if I'd be returning to a high-stress job, or even if I had enough banked sick time or vacation days to take sufficient time off. Such real-life issues are simply not the concern of most of our health care providers...

My Partner, My Memory

PREPARED PATIENT BLOG | April 15, 2014 | Barbara Kivowitz

I don't know if it's growing older, or New England winters, or the meds I take, or watching Homeland and Downton Abbey in the same week – but my memory isn't as crisp as it used to be. My partner, Richard, has become part of my cerebral cortex...

Alzheimer's Stories That Matter

PREPARED PATIENT BLOG | March 14, 2014 | Marie Marley

The stories told by people with Alzheimer's can teach us a lot about their lives. They also help us find important topics to discuss when we visit, which can make our visits far more pleasant and meaningful to the person we're seeing...

The Other 'F' Word

PREPARED PATIENT BLOG | March 6, 2014 | Jackie Fox

At my six-month checkup yesterday all was routine, other than my blood pressure being 131 over something when it's usually in the 115 range. Ten years ago I wouldn't have shared my fears at all, but thanks to early-stage breast cancer it's hard for my mind not to immediately go to the worst-case scenario...

Confessions of a Non-Compliant Patient

PREPARED PATIENT BLOG | February 24, 2014 | Carolyn Thomas

Most days, I have learned to function pretty well. But take a few unexpected health challenges, no matter how minor they may seem to others, arriving at the same time and piled onto an already-full plate and you have an explosion of overwhelm that looms larger than the average healthy person could even imagine. I've become a non-compliant patient...

Getting Help for Depression

PREPARED PATIENT BLOG | February 20, 2014 | Be a Prepared Patient

Depression affects nearly one in ten Americans yet many people often go untreated. In fact, a recent study found that 70 percent of people surveyed with symptoms of depression received no treatment of any kind. Here's advice on how to get help...

Welcome Shifts in Primary Care

PREPARED PATIENT BLOG | January 23, 2014 | CFAH Staff

What exactly is primary care? There have been a number of news stories lately that point to shifts in its traditional definitions and in what patients can (or should) expect to receive from primary care providers...

More Chronically Ill People Use Online Health Resources – but They're Not So Social, Pew Finds

PREPARED PATIENT BLOG | January 13, 2014 | Jane Sarasohn Kahn

Getting and being sick changes everything in your life, and that includes how you manage your health. For people focused on so-called patient engagement, health empowerment, and social networking in health, the elephant in the room is that most people simply don't self-track health via digital means...

A Better Health System for Frail and Disabled Elders

PREPARED PATIENT BLOG | December 9, 2013 | Ken Covinsky

Let's stop telling the public that exercising and eating blueberries are guarantees for avoiding frailty and disability. Let's start talking about how to maintain our quality of life as we age and inevitably encounter health problems.

Wellness at Work

PREPARED PATIENT BLOG | December 5, 2013 | Health Behavior News Service

Is your company one of the many that are now offering "wellness programs"? Our latest Be a Prepared Patient article, Staying Well at Work, looks at a few of these programs in action and offers tips for maintaining a healthy work/life balance...

Color Us Stressed – How to Deal

PREPARED PATIENT BLOG | December 2, 2013 | Jane Sarasohn Kahn

Coast-to-coast, stress is the norm for most Americans: 55 percent of people feel stressed in everyday life, and far more women feel the stress than men do. It will take a village to help manage stress, including but not limited to our doctors.

The Hard-Hitting Truth About Sports Concussions

PREPARED PATIENT BLOG | November 11, 2013 | Conversation Continues

Final scores, rankings and rivalries aren't the only fall football traditions getting news coverage this season. Rates, effects and what to do about concussions are in the spotlight too.

We Can Do Better

PREPARED PATIENT BLOG | October 22, 2013 | James Appleby

It's a scene that plays out daily in exam rooms across the country. The aging patient, accompanied by a caregiver, is seeing his or her physician and a discussion starts regarding the patient's memory.

Latest Health Behavior News

PREPARED PATIENT BLOG | October 11, 2013 | Health Behavior News Service

In this week's health news: Patient-doctor relationship affects diabetes care | Women in Appalachia at risk for late stage breast cancer | People with asthma need not fear exercise | Treating depression helps some smokers quit...

Five Years Later: Zigzagging Toward Acceptance

PREPARED PATIENT BLOG | October 8, 2013 | Kathi Kolb

"Your biopsy is positive." None of us ever forgets when we first heard some version of that phrase. I heard it five years ago today...

What Is the Image of Illness in the Media? Does It Matter?

PREPARED PATIENT BLOG | September 25, 2013 | Jessie Gruman

Have you noticed that the images of most sick people on TV, in drug ads and on health insurance websites look pretty good? There is a big, diverse herd of us out here who are ill and who don't see our experience realistically portrayed by the media. So what?

I Wish I'd Known Earlier...Kids with Cancer Need Emotional Support Too

PREPARED PATIENT BLOG | August 23, 2013 | Sabrina Smith

The word "survivor" is a huge hot button for my older son, Nate, who was diagnosed with acute lymphocytic leukemia (ALL) at the age of not-quite-three-years-old. The biggest regret I have from his illness is that we were so focused on saving his life and getting him physically healthy that we didn't think to bring therapy into the process for him in a full way...

Bearing Witness

PREPARED PATIENT BLOG | August 12, 2013 | John Schumann

I was naive when I decided to enter medicine. My impressions then were that doctors always “did” stuff—for patients, and to patients. We would do stuff to you (examinations, blood tests, scans, surgeries) in order to help you.

Latest Health Behavior News

PREPARED PATIENT BLOG | August 9, 2013 | Health Behavior News Service

This week in health news: When dieting encouragement goes wrong | What works for more walking at work | Vaccines: Not just for babies | Health insurance matters for cancer survivors

The Tightrope of Chronic Illness

PREPARED PATIENT BLOG | August 8, 2013 | Danea Horn

In the most recent newsletter, I talked about wanting to trade bodies with someone...just for one day. This way they could tell you just how freaked you should be about the symptoms you’re experiencing.

Looking for Meaning in a Meaningless Diagnosis

PREPARED PATIENT BLOG | June 24, 2013 | Carolyn Thomas

It is indeed tempting – and common – to spout trite platitudes designed to somehow make people feel better about those bad things with bumper-sticker pop-psych. But can platitudes really lend meaning to a life-altering health crisis?

Latest Health Behavior News

PREPARED PATIENT BLOG | April 25, 2013 | Health Behavior News Service

Brought to you by CFAH’s Health Behavior News Service: Depressed teens have rocky twenties | Gym benefits, yes. Extra costs, no thanks | Church goers look to ministry for health advice | Just say no to smoking in public housing

Comparative Effectiveness Research: David Shern, Past President and CEO of Mental Health America

PREPARED PATIENT BLOG | December 12, 2012 | David Shern

When we started focusing on CER, the big concern was the head-to-head trials of drugs and devices and the naive application of their findings to insurance reimbursement policies. Our ultimate fear was that access to medications would be restricted.

Worried Sick or Worried Well

PREPARED PATIENT BLOG | March 9, 2012 | Patient Perspectives

Worry can be an all too familiar and unwelcome companion to those with illness. Here, three people with three different worrisome health care experiences describe what it's like.

What is the Scope of Primary Care?

PREPARED PATIENT BLOG | November 29, 2011 | Inside Health Care

Even when you know you should see a doctor, it can be hard to know whether to visit your primary care provider or consult a specialist. In this roundup, physician bloggers consider the range of services covered by PCPs.

Patient Engagement: Expert Carol Alter Talks about Challenges

PREPARED PATIENT BLOG | October 31, 2011 | Carol Alter

This interview with Carol Alter is the eighth in a series of brief chats between CFAH president and founder, Jessie Gruman and experts - our CFAH William Ziff Fellows - who have devoted their careers to understanding and encouraging people's engagement in their health and health care.

Patient Engagement: Expert David Sobel Talks about Challenges

PREPARED PATIENT BLOG | October 3, 2011 | David Sobel

This interview with David Sobel is the fourth in a series of brief chats between CFAH president and founder, Jessie Gruman and experts - our CFAH William Ziff Fellows - who have devoted their careers to understanding and encouraging people's engagement in their health and health care.

The Emotions Illness Brings

PREPARED PATIENT BLOG | August 5, 2011 | Patient Perspectives

The experiences and emotions brought on by having an illness or disability can be complex and sometimes unexpected. In this blog roundup, three patients share theirs.

The Lemon of Illness and the Demand for Lemonade

PREPARED PATIENT BLOG | April 13, 2011 | Jessie Gruman

"Life gives you lemons and you make lemonade your response to all those cancer diagnoses is so positive, such a contribution!" "Your work demonstrates that illness is a great teacher." "Your illness has been a blessing in disguise." Well-meaning, thoughtful people have said things like this to me since I started writing about the experience of being seriously ill and describing what I had to do to make my health care work for me. I generally hear in such comments polite appreciation of my efforts, which is nice because I know that people often struggle to know just what to say when confronted by others' hardships.

Prepared Patient: Need Help With Your Mental Health?

PREPARED PATIENT BLOG | December 30, 2010 | Health Behavior News Service

Insomnia and oversleeping, slowed speech, hopelessness, frequent crying and lack of focus all are symptoms of depression. Overeating or lack of appetite; suicidal thoughts; loss of interest or pleasure in activities and relationships that usually bring joy; anxiety and difficulty feeling pleasure or sustaining positive emotions can occur as well.

Everyone Doesn't Call it the Blues

PREPARED PATIENT BLOG | April 7, 2010 | Dorothy Jeffress

In a recent HBNS research news story, from a study in the journal, General Hospital Psychiatry, we reported that stigma prevents many Latinos from receiving treatment from depression. The study points out that many Latinos prefer to handle personal problems or concerns privately and may resist seeking treatment.