• Matthew Neff

How to have Patience with Patients

Each year, American hospitals conduct 35.4 million admissions, of those, 16 million occur through the emergency department (ED), suggesting that more than 19 million are direct admits. 


The last place a sick person wants to be is a registration booth.


Here are five ideas to help you and your clients to be patient.


1. Smile - The value of a smile is priceless, yet it is the cheapest, easiest, and most sincere gift you can offer to anyone that crosses your path. While patients are always under stress an empathetic smile shows respect and reminds everyone - we are all human and doing our best. Start with a smile. 




2. Eye Contact - It is easy to just ask questions and fill out forms on paper or screen. But like a smile - eye contact helps you connect at a human level. 


3. The patient's perspective. Talk to the patient about worries, fears, and possible misconceptions. The information you receive can help guide your patient teaching. By understanding their concerns you step inside their shoes, understand their questions better, and can help reframe those questions in a format that works for them (and you).


4. Offer Unexpected Solutions. Often times the biggest worry your client has is not health but financial or logistics. How am I going to pay for this? How will I get to and from the hospital to visit? When you can offer solutions to these top-of-mind practical concerns, then patients can relax and focus on the information you need - particularly because you are not just solving a health concern, but addressing new day-to-day life worries. 





5. Involve others. Ask if the patient wants other people involved with the care process. It is possible that the person who volunteers to be involved in your patient's care may not be the person your patient prefers to be involved. Learn about the support available to your patient. Involve others from your team too. The act of engaging others can often bring some welcome patience and perspective when communication is faltering. 


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