Learning how to manage a health issue can lead to uncertainty and unanswered questions. The first place you may turn is the internet, but the search for reliable information can be overwhelming and stressful.
At Sharp Memorial Outpatient Pavilion, we offer a Community Health Library with team members who can take you through the process of finding trustworthy, quality information to answer your important health questions.
“Knowledge is power. We want people to feel informed about their health so they will be engaged in their care,” says Laura Stubblefield, library program manager.
At the library, patients and guests can borrow books, music and videos, at no cost. There are computer stations to research dependable health databases, as well as brochures you can take home. Health librarians are also available to answer questions.
“Our library staff often sees people who have just been diagnosed with a health issue and have questions,” says Stubblefield.
Information from the library is intended to supplement any discussions with your doctor. If you have specific questions about your health, you should contact your doctor.
Library staff is open to suggestions from the community on health materials. If there are books or videos you would like to read, they may be able to order them for you.
In addition, there is a store within the library where you can purchase wellness items such as aromatherapy candles, essential oils and meditation products. The store also sells health-related items such as a “hip kit” to help you move around after hip surgery, and head scarfs — created by a former patient — for patients receiving chemotherapy.
“We have items that few retailers in San Diego carry,” says Matt Lewis, library assistant. “One of those items is a special lotion for patients receiving radiation treatment, which is recommended by doctors affiliated with our hospital because it reduces skin-related side effects. The library makes it easy for patients to purchase items like this right after their appointment.”
If you are a patient at Sharp Memorial Hospital, you can participate in the Health Information Ambassador program. These volunteers can meet with you to discuss your health concerns. Librarians will then research your questions and provide easy-to-understand information within two hours of your request. After leaving the hospital, you can request additional information from the library, which will be mailed to your home.
Library staff also participate in community fairs, conferences and group meetings to teach ways on finding health information and communicating effectively with the doctor.
Here are the library team’s top tips on how to best partner with your doctor on your care:
- Ask your doctor to repeat information if you don’t understand.
- Write down questions for your doctor prior to your appointment.
- Bring a care partner to your appointment to help remember information.
To learn more about the library’s resources, visit the Community Health Library.