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Building Relationships

Monday, February 11, 2013

By Paula Miller

Valentine’s Day is a day for relationships—most often with people you love, like your parents, your significant other, your siblings, and your friends. It’s a day of chocolates and flowers. Yet for those of us with CHD, building relationships outside of those we naturally love is an important aspect of our life.

Who else is as important as those I love, you may ask? As an adult with CHD, I think my relationship with my ACHD healthcare team and with ACHA are—but like many, these are relationships I sometimes take for granted and don’t always work to maintain.

You might be thinking, “She’s wrong. My doctor rocks and we get along well.” Or you might be one with high expectations of how you believe your doctor should act; after all, the doctor is the doctor and should know what I need and what’s on my mind.

Not true, my friends! Healthcare professionals are human just like the rest of us; they can’t know how we feel or what we’re thinking if we don’t have a relationship with them. Your adult congenital heart health team should be a partner in your journey. Establishing a relaxed and trusting relationship with the whole team is of utmost importance.

So, how do you find the right ACHD heart doctor? What can you do to make this relationship work? You may even be wondering, “How do I know which ACHD team is the right one for me?” Well, that’s where ACHA comes in. By establishing a relationship with us, you have access to awesome information to help in your journey through life as an adult living with CHD.

In the “real” ACHD world, all of us need to establish a relationship with an adult congenital heart doctor. Our hearts are different and they deserve special care. While ACHA does not endorse or recommend any particular ACHD clinic, it does endorse the ACC/AHA 2008 Guidelines for the Management of Adults with Congenital Heart Disease, which recommends that many ACHD patients should be followed at a highly-specialized ACHD center.

I hope you are asking, “How do I find the right ACHD heart doctor for me?” You’re in the right place to find out. One of the many amazing tools on our website is the ACHD Program Directory. It can help you answer that question by letting you search more than 100 self-reported ACHD programs in the United States and Canada. You can see how many patients each program sees in a year, how many clinics they have each week, the program’s location and the background of the ACHD team, as well as special services and other medical specialties they work with.

So don’t stop—you are on the way to finding the ACHD clinical team that’s right for you! Click here to begin using this one-of-a-kind tool. When you get to the office, take along the ACHA Personal Health Passport, and work as a team with your ACHD doctor to fill it out so you will have access to important health information in your pocket.

By the way, ACHA also has published our ACHD Travel Directory, which lists ACHD clinics. You can download it here or contact me, and I’ll mail you a Personal Health Passport and Travel Directory.

These, my friends, are benefits of your relationship of ACHA! 

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Disclaimer

The opinions expressed by ACHA bloggers and those providing comments on the ACHA Blog are theirs alone, and do not reflect the opinions of the Adult Congenital Heart Association or any employee thereof. ACHA is not responsible for the accuracy of any of the information supplied by the ACHA bloggers.

The contents of this blog are presented for informational purposes only, and should not be substituted for professional advice. Always consult your physicians with your questions and concerns.

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