2 weeks ago

Look Inside Young Adult Road Map

3 Guiding Star Point

3 Guiding Star Point Three: Build Relationships System Relationships We tend to think of relationships as social. In this Guide, we talk about the relationships that enable you to get the services you need (relationships with case managers, doctors, therapists, and friends and family members who can support you in navigating systems). “Life is short. Being a jerk is just unnecessary.... Most good relationships are built on mutual trust and respect.” – Mona Sutphen, Former Deputy White House Chief of Staff for Policy Why Build Relationships? Each time you walk into a room with a provider, remember: As the client, YOU are in a position of authority, too. You and the provider each have a role (job) in that room. A provider is trained to be an expert about some part of the system you are trying to navigate. You are the expert about yourself. Sometimes you will have to change the conversation so providers (and others who may be involved in your services, such as families and mentors) accept your role. In fact, navigating a system has a lot in common with taking part in a role-playing game. At different points along the journey, there may be “gatekeepers” (people in charge of getting you into systems or services you need). You may need to build partnerships with people who can tell you how to solve problems or get past barriers. The way you speak and behave toward those people tells them what you expect from them, and what they can expect from you. You may encounter some of these people once or twice, and work with others for years to come. One provider may write something in a file or say something that affects how the next provider treats you. Building relationships of mutual trust and respect can help you get the services and supports you need. Working with Providers Below are some good ideas used by real people who face some of the same challenges you face: 1. You have a right to be treated with courtesy and respect. Everyone responds better when they are treated respectfully. If you are over 18, it is not acceptable for you to be treated as less than an equal in making decisions about your services. If you are under 18, you still have a right to be consulted (and in some cases, a right to refuse or consent to treatment). 2. If you don’t understand something, ask for an explanation. Continue to ask questions until you understand the provider’s thinking. You may disagree with providers about their recommendations. Don’t be afraid to say so. Providers aren’t perfect. Sometimes they are mistaken. If you think what they’re suggesting won’t work for you, say so. Based on your input, providers may change their recommendations. Effective questions tend to begin with words such as “who, what, when, where, why, how,” or “can you please explain?” Asking effective questions is a way to get more information from providers. 3. Consider your learning style. Do you take in information better by seeing it or hearing it? You may need to ask for more written material or ask the provider to recommend some videos to explain a situation. 4. Explain your point of view in a calm, courteous way. Don’t attack the provider just because you don’t agree. If you are calm rather than angry when expressing your opinion, the provider will be much more likely to see you as a partner who has a different point 34

of view rather than as a difficult client. It’s okay to disagree, but if you are feeling out of control, ask for a short break to gather yourself. You might also end the session early and schedule another meeting. 5. If you need more time with the provider, say so. If your appointment isn’t long enough to get all your questions answered, the provider should be willing to schedule more time to meet with you. You are entitled to this. It may mean having to set another meeting on another day, but you have a right to get complete, clear information. 6. Keep in regular contact with any provider. In some instances, it’s important to see a provider on a regular basis if you are going to get the best care for yourself. Check with providers to see how often they recommend that you talk to them. Find out how they wish to be contacted if something important happens between appointments. 7. If you are pleased with a provider, say so. Just like everyone else, providers like to know when they are doing a good job. A simple “thank you” or “I appreciate that” can go a long way toward building a good relationship. 8. If you can’t work things out with a provider directly, you may need to discuss your problems with a supervisor. Make sure you’ve made every effort to resolve things with the provider before you see a supervisor. (See “What to Do if Someone’s Not Listening,” page 40.”) 9. If you have tried all the above and still cannot work with the provider, think about changing to a different person. Sometimes people and providers simply cannot get along. If you have done the best you can and still do not feel comfortable with the provider, you’ll be better off finding someone else to help you. Before you move to a new provider, take a moment to reflect on what happened in the previous situation. When, where, how, and why did communication break down? 10. Ask about other choices. For example, some areas don’t have many psychiatrists, but you may be able to see a psychiatric nurse practitioner (who often spends more time with each client). Consider the other health care choices you may have. For example, there could be online help or video conferencing (sometimes called telemedicine) available to meet your needs. Just as you would do for an office visit, screen the provider for quality. 11. As a young adult, you have a right to make new choices if you wish to do so. Even if you have worked with a provider for a long time, it is your choice whether to continue working with them. You have changing needs, and it is important that you are being treated like an adult. NVRL8 Be on time for appointments. If you must cancel, give 24 hours’ notice whenever possible. Some offices charge for appointments that are cancelled without notice, and insurance companies don’t pay for that charge. Take along the office number. If you are stuck in traffic and have a cell phone, call and tell them the reason you might be late. Most offices will give you a 15-minute “grace period.” If you are later than this, they may ask you to reschedule. 35