Your Medical Team for Rheumatoid Arthritis
Your Orthopedic Surgeon
Surgical therapy for rheumatoid arthritis has improved greatly over the past decades. There is a variety of surgical procedures that can help you keep good use of your joints for as long as possible. If you feel like your current treatment isn't working, ask your rheumatologist if surgery is a reasonable option.
Organizing Your Medical Team
To organize a medical team, start with your rheumatologist, who probably has a network of contacts with whom you can get in touch.
- Keep records. Don't assume all your team members are communicating or sharing copies of your chart. Recent changes to health care law make it your legal right to receive a copy of your medical record. Ask for it, and carry all records to appointments.
- Communicate. Make sure each team member knows about important changes, like recent surgeries, hospitalizations, or major changes in medications.
- Keep in touch. Maintain relationships with the members of your team, by keeping appointments and taking an interest in your care plan.
- Ask questions. People who take an interest in their care for rheumatoid arthritis stay involved and tend to do better.