With the sweeping changes in the treatments and medications available to people with HIV/AIDS, more patients live longer and preserve a higher quality of life than ever before. As the regimen for taking medications and other treatments becomes more complex, people with HIV/AIDS need to be more vigilant and involved in their medical care.
During your first appointment you will meet our office staff, an internal medicine resident, a faculty physician and possibly a nurse. All of these specialists are members of your "care team." Get to know them; it's nice to hear a friendly voice when you call or come in, and they will be eager to help.
Allied health professionals knowledgeable about HIV, such as certified physician assistants or adult registered nurse practitioners, also may be involved in your care. They may evaluate a problem if your doctor is not immediately available or be your primary health care provider working in concert with a doctor.
Patients who have an identified "primary nurse" in their doctor's office are the most satisfied. Nurses play a vital role in coordinating your care. They also may discuss test results, manage early symptoms, facilitate appointments and answer your questions. They're also easy to reach by phone.
Your care may require you to see a doctor or consultant elsewhere in the medical center. Please let us know of any preference you may have regarding such consultants. We'll do our best to make sure you're comfortable with everyone one you see at Virginia Mason Franciscan Health.
You, too, are a vital member of the team. Patients who see themselves as active participants in their care are often the most satisfied and receive better care. We will try to educate you about HIV but self-education is essential.
Please ask us about community-based services and let us know if you are utilizing any of these services. Referrals to educational programs, support groups, insurance counseling, in-home services and other resources are available.
By working together, we can keep you as healthy as possible, for as long as possible. That's our commitment to you.