The right communication skills can improve the health outcome of patients. The ability to speak openly and express one’s feelings can go along way to diagnose and treat the patient. As well as during the healing process.
Proper communication starts with the doctor and how they approach their patients. Allowing them to be free to ask or say whatever it is. That is what guides towards a better relationship.
For that reason, read on to learn seven patient communication tips
Patient Communication Guide
A healthcare entrepreneur will tell you that proper and elaborate communication is the key to your patient’s health. It’s not wrong. With a high percentage of people unable to express themselves comprehensively, the amount of care given to such patients is limited.
Better patient communication starts with you and your doctor. So read further to know what these seven tips are all about.
1. Lay it Down Easy
A patient can’t respond to something they don’t understand. So skip the jargon and technical language and speak a simpler language. They will be less overwhelmed and confused. The language barrier has been a major problem with communication.
In the office, at work, with our children. Finding the right language can help speak volumes. That is why pediatric hospitals will have nurses and doctors speak in the easiest of words. To allow both the child and the parents to comprehend what they’re saying.
Lay down the dosage and prescription to the patient with ease so they’ll understand how many times to take the medicine. After how long. Avoid terms like one times three.
Also, allow for questions. Open a window for the patient to ask anything they might be conflicted with. Even if it doesn’t relate to the current condition. This will create a conducive environment for doctor-patient communication.
2. Speak with Your Body
Gestures have a way with words. A famous saying states actions speak louder than words. It applies 100% to this scenario. Ask yourself certain questions like:
● How should I look at her?
● How should I stand?
● Eye contact or no eye contact?
Doctors are advised especially when expressing sad news, eye contact is important. It allows you to connect to the patient such that you can see how they react to the news.
Gestures and body postures express what we can say or what we can’t adequately elaborate. Give smiles, warm handshakes, and a welcoming body posture. A pat in the back, maybe hold their hand so they can see you are fully invested in their recovery.
3. Listen Twice as Hard
When you actually sit down and listen to what the patient is saying, one can learn much more things about the patient. Most times, you will find an objective doctor who wants to speed things up to do their rounds.
In this case, the patient is limited towards expressing their needs and feelings. The right listening skills are what is required. Scientists say that we have two ears and one mouth for a reason. To speak less and listen more, you might grasp more on what the patient is saying that otherwise.
4. Build on Empathy
There’s a difference between empathy and sympathy. In regards to better patient communication, having the right empathy skills is what will guide you to what your patient needs. What are they most afraid of from the diagnosis?
What do they think is the diagnosis? Or what do they want from the treatment? Learn to ask the right question to build a way towards connecting with the patient. Most patients may be afraid of a certain type of medication for all sorts of reasons.
Asking beforehand will allow them to be open about the situation any welcome changes into the medication plan. Even an objective doctor should be able to create empathy between them and the patient.
5. Build Rapport
This is when you look for ways to understand the patient besides medical examinations. Give them that extra ear to tell you what’s wrong, visit them more in the ward, converse about other extracurricular activities.
Create team morale so they understand the journey to recovering is both for them and you as their doctor.
The patient communication guide dictates that the best way to relate and connect to your patient is to try and learn about the patient. What they like, their history, who visits them often, and others.
For someone to feel they can talk to you, they need to know they can trust you and that you are vulnerable to understand them. The right tool is to take your time to build trust and a common ground for both of you to relate.
6. Use a Teach-Back Method
A teach-back method is a tool used by doctors to try and explain things in an easier manner. The language barrier is just but a start into how to speak to the patient. One needs to understand how to show the patient they aren’t alone.
Using this method, the doctor can use what the patient has grasped and helped them connect it to what they are explaining. Others might refer to this method as closing the loop method or show- me method.
The patient can better adhere to what the doctor is teaching them as they explain in a manner you already understand.
7. Involve Others in the Conversation
People might feel more comfortable having a conversation with someone close to people they already feel comfortable with. An anchor to be able to give you a stand and the confidence to speak up.
The doctor can be afraid to communicate with the patient due to the nature of the news. Involving professionals or gurus in the industry could give one the much-needed push to openness.
This also includes relatives, family friends, and a support group. They can be a great help to patient communication.
Communicate the Right Way
Patient communication is very vital for all doctors and aspiring student doctors to know. Being able to establish a circle or trust and understanding as well as hasten the journey to recovery is always the ultimate objective.
The right guide into how to connect with your patients is much needed. Contact us so we can guide you on what’s next.