Trigger Questions

Jacksonville Health and Transition Services (JaxHATS)

This is a list of useful questions to use in clinical consultations with young people with chronic illnesses.

Trigger questions for health professionals assessing and managing adolescent patients with chronic illnesses:

  • Trigger questions are given as examples to appropriately elicit important information as a basis to deliver patient-centered care.
  • Can you explain your condition in your words?
  • Do you know other people who have the same condition?
  • Who knows that you suffer from this illness?
  • What do other people think of you having this illness (peers, teachers, neighbors, etc.)?
  • Why do you think do you have this condition?
  • What does this illness hinder you from doing (be very specific!) now and later in your life?
  • How much time does the management of the disease take you and your parents? (consider every day tasks and routine medical care and unforeseen controls, possibly use a diary approach).
  • How do you compare yourself to peers in your class/grade? Are you small? Do they have more or less breast development compared to you?
  • How do you like your body? What would you like to be different?
  • Has your menstrual cycle started already?

All the questions from HEADS apply here too and will give an interesting profile of psycho-social development.

  • Who does what in your treatment (diary approach)? (What is your role, what the one of your parents?)
  • How do you approach the prescriptions, tasks?
  • Do you know why you should do the specific tasks?
  • How does the schedule of the tasks fit into your schedule?
  • When was the last time you forgot to take/do your treatment?
  • Estimate which percentage of the prescribed treatment did you perform in the last two weeks
  • What do you enjoy in life?
  • Tell me about your friends. How many friends do you have? What are their ages?
  • What do you do with your friends out of school?
  • What can you do on your own? What would you like to do on your own?

Tell me about future plans. Be specific of how you plan to achieve them.

  • What would help you make your life more enjoyable?
  • If your pain/arthritis/condition was cured overnight, what would you spend tomorrow doing?
  • Why do you need treatment?
  • What information have you found on your disease in books, the internet, on TV and from experts?
  • Question to parents: What are you afraid of happening if you give the responsibility of the care to your adolescent?