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Managing Your Healthcare Team

Managing lupus is a true team effort. You can improve your chances of managing symptoms if everyone involved in your treatment is on the same page.

Appoint a Team Captain

If you see more than one doctor on a regular basis, select one to serve as "team captain." He or she should ideally be the one who has the most lupus experience.

For most people, this doctor will be a rheumatologist (a doctor who specializes in the musculoskeletal system). But everyone who treats you, including your primary care physician and any other specialist you see, should be kept up to date about how you're doing.

If one or more of the healthcare professionals on your team disagrees with a prescribed course of action, consult your team captain first. Ask him or her to talk to other members of the team, so that everyone understands why this course is being recommended. If there are good reasons for the disagreement, see if those who disagree can suggest alternatives.

Regardless, each of your doctors should be kept aware of the advice and direction you're getting from the others, even if everyone agrees on your overall treatment.

Take Charge & Follow Up

Doctors should also consult one another when suggesting a change of course in your lupus management. Make sure that you follow up to be sure that everyone is "on the same page."

For example, if you have tests performed, the hospital or testing facility should send copies of the results to all of your doctors. That way, they're more likely to have the latest information at hand during your appointments.

Involve Every Team Member

Your healthcare team isn't just made up of doctors. Get to know the nurses in your doctors' offices. They may be able to help you share test results and information with other doctors on your team. They may also be able to give you guidance.

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