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  • Holli Ferrell

What to Expect During Your First Visit to Paducah Rheumatology

Seeing a rheumatologist for the first time can be a nerve-wracking experience. You are in a different environment with people you don’t know to discuss intricate details about your life. That initial appointment can cause some anxiety, and rightfully so.

What’s the solution to overcoming doctor office anxiety? How do you combat those uneasy feelings?

Information is Power

Gathering information to better know what you can expect during that first visit is an excellent way to prepare yourself. The unknown of the whole situation is one underlying element that many people dislike about a new patient appointment.

That’s why our healthcare team at Paducah Rheumatology strives to be open about the entire process and let you know what you can anticipate. Our goal is to help you feel comfortable and at ease from beginning to end.

Answers to FAQs

Below is a list of frequently asked questions we often hear from patients inquiring about our office and staff.

Why do I need to see a rheumatologist?

A rheumatologist is a doctor that specializes in diagnosing and providing treatment for autoimmune and arthritic diseases. These types of diseases are typically complex and can be difficult to manage. When an autoimmune disease goes uncontrolled, patients often see detrimental effects to their joints, muscles, and connective tissues.

Sometimes, based on symptoms you may have reported to your primary care provider, and/or the results of labs that have previously been obtained, it is unclear if you MIGHT have an autoimmune condition. During our first visit, I will ask questions, perform a physical exam, sometimes obtain additional testing, in order to determine if you do or do not have an autoimmune disease.

As a rheumatologist, I feel a deep responsibility to care for men and women in need of my expert knowledge and professional assistance. I strive to create a working relationship with my patients as we navigate together the ups and downs of living with a rheumatic disease. During an appointment, you are my top priority and I guarantee to give you my full attention.

What happens with my referral?

As with many other types of specialty physicians, a referral from your primary care doctor (or another specialist) is necessary to schedule a new patient appointment. I personally review each referral when it comes in, in order to ensure that rheumatologist is the right specialty to see to evaluate your symptoms and to try to ensure we have received all the appropriate testing which may have already been performed by your referring provider.

In general, the referral process to see a specialist has a bad reputation for being tedious and drawn out. We work hard to make sure that is not your experience at Paducah Rheumatology. Every referral is handled promptly and organized quickly. Occasionally, delays occur when we do not receive necessary information from referring providers (lab results, insurance information,etc), and we work as promptly as possible to request such information.

How many medical history forms will I need to fill out?

It is vital I understand your prior medical history to be able to provide correct and proper care for your personal circumstances. The more I know about you, the more we can dive into finding a solution.

Yes, the required forms might appear lengthy, but they are worth your effort to fill out in their entirety. We offer electronic forms that you can complete online, or you can receive paper forms to mail in ahead of your visit. The more complete and accurate the information you provide, the more I may be able to help.

What will we talk about during that first visit?

While your prior medical history is a critical component of your initial appointment, we also will review your current symptoms and discuss how you feel on a day-to-day basis. To obtain some of that information, you will be asked to complete a short form regarding your current pain levels, ability to function while doing everyday tasks, and joint mobility.

Also, it is important for me to be aware of any other types of specialists that you regularly see. Knowing the full scope of your medical care will contribute to the success of our first visit. With this information, I then can make an informed decision when formulating a treatment plan that best suits your particular disease development.

Will there be lab work to complete?

While every patient is different, lab work is often needed as we investigate your symptoms and possible diagnoses, and to form a treatment plan. A blood draw can provide further clarification about your specific rheumatic disease and shed light on why you are experiencing certain symptoms.

Lab work is conveniently completed in our office. At times, we may need to obtain joint imaging, such as an X-ray. We will provide to you information about several off-site but nearby locations that can perform such imaging.

How many follow-up visits will be required?

The frequency of follow-up visits varies from patient to patient. Some patients might come in every six weeks while others will visit our office every six months. If taking prescribed medication is part of your treatment plan, follow-up visits may be necessary to confirm that we’ve selected the best kind of medication at the correct dosage for you.

Come See Us!

Our entire team at Paducah Rheumatology is ready and willing to make your first visit the best experience possible. We understand that living with a rheumatic disease comes with a lot of unknowns. Will a flare-up disrupt my plans today? How will my disease progress? Will I be able to manage my symptoms?

Let’s shorten your list of unknowns by one item. If you have questions about what to expect during your first visit with us, feel free to reach out by calling 270-408-6100. We are here to help you through every step of the process. If we can keep those nerves at bay, that’s a win-win situation for both of us. See you soon!

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