Spring is traditionally the season for shedding what you don’t need or want. Beyond de-cluttering your closets and garage, consider if it’s time to leave your health care professional behind.
Maybe you’re hesitant to rock the boat by parting ways. Starting with someone new can be stressful or time-consuming. In some smaller communities, where certain health care providers are at a premium, it may not be easy or even possible to leave. But sometimes it’s essential for your well-being.
“There are ways to recognize if the relationship isn’t working effectively for you,” says Marshall Moleschi, president of the Federation of Health Regulatory Colleges of Ontario (FHRCO).
Moleschi adds that these four signs say it might be time to find someone new:
1. Unprofessional response. You believe you’ve been treated improperly, like care or service that doesn’t put your needs first, inappropriate interactions or disrespect.
2. Irreconcilable differences. You aren’t on the same page about your care, and have exhausted all efforts to come to an agreement.
3. No confidence. You no longer have faith in your health care professional’s ability, whether overall or to respond to your concerns.
4. Communication breakdown. You can’t express yourself openly, and your health care provider doesn’t listen to you or respect your opinions.
In Ontario, 26 colleges regulate over 300,000 health care professionals and more information is offered at regulatedhealthprofessions.on.ca. You will see that the colleges hold their member professionals accountable for their conduct and practice. That helps to ensure that these professionals act in the best interests of their patients. Some of the reasons for a break-up, like unprofessional or incompetent behaviour, would be of concern for a regulator.
If the connection with a regulated professional seems broken and it’s time to move on, what do you do?
Find the right fit
“When choosing another health care professional, think of what matters to you,” says Moleschi.
Does the professional explain things clearly? Can you ask questions? Do they hear your concerns and respond appropriately? Do you trust their expertise and judgment? Are the two of you in sync with your care and treatment?
When dealing with any regulated health care professional, you should be able to expect care and service that’s competent, safe and ethical. That includes someone who makes you feel comfortable, understands your goals, and works with you in a healthy partnership.
If that doesn’t happen, you have the right to raise your concerns, either with the health care professional or, if needed, with their regulator. Think carefully. Sometimes it’s simply time to move on.
“A health care professional has to serve your needs,” Moleschi adds. “When the fit isn’t right, you may be better off with a fresh start.”