Friday, June 5, 2015

Talking Patients, Talking Patience

I've found that "how" you do things in life is infinitely more important than "what" you do. When it comes to patient-provider dynamics, you could not find more truth in the matter.

Talking Patients, Talking Patience

As we know, the recent literature regarding clinical outcomes pertinent to the management of pain leads us to consider a treatment model as part of the "biopsychosocial" model. Now, while even mentioning this can get some interesting (and, by interesting, I mean vitriolic) dialog amongst colleagues, the end of the matter is this:

The best outcome occurs when a patient trusts their clinician, in effect, leading to less fear and a positive outlook upon any given pain or ailment. The following is my personal style of approach along with some past example(s) of how I like to redirect, guide, and empower my patients through my interactions in their lives.

Some highlight tips:

  1. Make sure they feel like they are the ONLY one you are concerned about.
  2. Take seat. A psychologist once shared with me a study that sitting down makes people feel like you care more -- and -- have spent more time with them.
  3. Offer examples of past horror stories which are now success stories; relate it back to the patient in front of you.
  4. Speak softly... they are already anxious as it is. You don't need to be commanding, you need to be understanding.
  5. Science is inhumane; patients don't want to know you're right. They want to know you care.
All in all, we need to recognize that there exists a continuum of cognitive morphology; a range. and a confidence interval of potential change. If we accept this as clinicians, we can move on together -- with our patients as providers of their best health. And, when we do this, the journey is forged together in mutual trust, which quite honestly, is what patients desire most from their healthcare experience.

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