Thursday, September 2, 2010
Can being a “bad” patient be good for you? This is the claim from a book written by CNN medical correspondent, Elizabeth Cohen. I found the gist of her advice sound; however, I worry that labeling behavior as “bad” puts patients at odds with caregivers. Numerous studies have shown we need to encourage “good” behavior from both patients and caregivers to produce stronger relationships and better outcomes. Here are some excellent tips from a patient who spoke at a Schwartz Center Rounds at Baystate Medical Center.
1. Educate yourself and come prepared to your appointment.
2. Patients who are informed foster better relationships with caregivers.
3. Ask caregivers clear questions. Answer questions honestly and concisely.
4. Treat doctors and their staffs with compassion.
5. Forgive caregivers when they admit mistakes.
6. If someone says or does something that doesn’t feel right,
ask for clarification.
7. Be grateful.
8. Don’t give up hope!
1. Smile and introduce yourself when you meet a patient.
2. Give patients adequate time to answer questions.
3. Listen to patients and be open to alternative diagnoses.
4. Make sure notes reflect what patients tell you.
5. Don't change providers without talking to patients.
6. Schedule follow up visits that are mutually convenient.
7. Encourage patients to participate in their care.
8. Discussing treatment options can help patients feel less anxious.
9. Evidence based data is important but so is human experience.
10. Emotional care is important for patients and caregivers.
11. Patients should believe you’re there to help, not just deliver news.
12. Suggest ways patients can connect with others who have similar health issues.
13. Convey hope by letting patients know you care.
14. Help your patients whenever possible rather than send them to someone else.
What tips do you have for encouraging “good” behavior?