Following is the master list of questions I used for the two TMS practitioners reported in earlier posts (see the last two posts).
My goal in preparing a list of questions is to make sure I’m ready to probe more deeply should something feel not quite right during the discussions. Practitioners should be very upfront and quite willing to respond to any of these questions without hesitation. Any attempt to dodge a question should bring forth more questions in that area. That’s why there are so many questions. I do not go in expecting to ask every question on the list.
It’s critically important to be willing to ask a question and let there be silence until they answer. Don’t fill in with possible answers, tell them what another practitioner said, nothing. I know silence in a conversation can be very uncomfortable, especially in the American culture, just do it. I’ve found the most important information gleaned from a long conversation often comes at the end of one protracted silence. Don’t give in to the temptation to start talking to reduce your stress. Trust me on this one.
Without further adieu, the questions:
- Do you provide “normal” clinical treatments or just do trials?
- How long is the treatment typically?
- How many sessions per week and how long?
- How important is it that the sessions be consecutive?
- Are there post treatment meetings for assessment? When?
- How much does it cost?
- My impression is that “alignment” is critical. How hard is it to achieve proper alignment? How can a patient tell if there’s a problem as they’re being treated (tremors, uncontrollable movements, etc.)?
- Are patients visually, electronically monitored throughout the treatment for problems?
- How frequently do problems surface during treatments?
- How likely is it that follow up treatments are required? What happens so that one knows a follow up treatment is needed?
- What’s the nature of the follow up treatments and total length of time they may be required?
- How many procedures are done a day by your office? Less than one a week.
- How long has the staff that aligns the devices been doing it? How many per day?
- Once a decision is made to proceed, what is your involvement in the treatment – alignment, administration, interpretation and when/how frequently throughout the process do you review the “results”. If not you, who is reviewing progress and what training and length of experience do they have?
- What is the success rate (yours vs literature)?
- How do you define success?
- Any major complications reported due to TMS? Memory? Seizures?
- What side effects are most common?
- Any insight into how/what medications needs are diminished upon completion of TMS?
- What percentage of your patients require follow on treatments? How frequently?
- How are relapses identified?
- For my circumstances what is the most likely outcome if successful (no need for drugs, significantly reduced dependence, whatever) and how likely would follow-ups be required? How frequent would the follow-ups be?
- Ultimately, how likely is it that, if successful, I’ll be as free from depression as a normal person – even allowing that I may need to take supplemental drugs? In other words, how likely is it that I get “cured”?
- What differentiates your TMS program from others? special skills? more experience? equipment?