Getting the best from your appointment


Before you go to an appointment with your doctor, nurse or COPD specialist, it is a great starting point to think about how you are feeling and what you need your doctor to know.

It is important to voice your worries and concerns, as this means you can get all the advice and help you need. Be honest, there’s no reason to be afraid or embarrassed about speaking up.

In this section you’ll find handy hints to think about before your appointment. Read each section, write down answers to the questions and take this along with you to your appointment. If you think any questions don’t apply to you, try to write down answers to these too, just in case.

What information might I need to provide?


  • Do you smoke? Have you ever smoked?
  • If yes, how often do you smoke/did you smoke?
  • If you’re still smoking, would you like to stop?
  •  to call the doctor up again


  • How do you find exercise (of any kind, including chair exercises)?
  • How often are you able to exercise?
  • If you walked your furthest distance possible, how far would you get?
  • Has anything become more difficult since your last appointment? If so, in what way?


  • How does your coughing compare to when you last went to an appointment?

Do you produce phlegm /mucus/spit when you cough?
If you do produce phlegm/mucus/spit when you cough, what color is it?


  • How do you find sleeping, generally?
  • Has it become easier or more difficult recently?
  • Are you able to get in and out of bed comfortably?


  • List out any medication that you take regularly – be sure to include anything you have been prescribed, along with any medication you have bought (if any)
  • Do you know how often you should take your medication, and how much of it to take?
  • Do you ever take too little / too much of your medication?


  • How would you describe your general mood? How does it compare to when you last had an appointment?
  • Do your moods change much?
  • Who do you have to support you? Do you feel you need more help?

Note: The above questions are only examples; your medical professional may ask you any number of questions that aren’t included here, but still try to answer them as fully as you can. They will need this information to help you as best as possible.

Can I ask questions?

Yes. Don’t be afraid to ask for more information, or for explanations about things you don’t understand.

If you feel you have questions before an appointment, note them down to take with you as a reminder.

A great way to get the information you need is by using open ended questions. For example:

  • Why did……….happen?
  • What does it mean when?
  • When would it be best to?
  • What can you tell me about…..?
  • How does……affect ……?
  • Try some yourself to see whether it improves what you get out of your appointment.


Helpful reads

Inspiring Stories


“I’m a fighter and determination kicked in. I was determined to live my life, and live it well for as long as I can. And no way am I going to wait to die. Not when I can keep living.”

Marion, Ireland

See more stories

April 2016