Reaching out to patients to ensure they know what to expect and encouraging family to help can make all the difference in your patients’ health and ability to follow your recommended steps. Encourage them to be open with you and your staff and that you’re there to help.
Surprisingly, the biggest obstacle to successful patient care has to do with one basic but overlooked element of care. Communication. In their publication “Health Literacy: Help Your Patients Understand” the AMA suggests up to 45% of patients fail to follow through on care due to miscommunication with their health professional. That number jumps to 68% when you include miscommunication among health professionals treating them. So can we live with a 32% chance of success? There are some red flags they’ve identified for low health literacy:
- They seek help only when the illness is advanced
- They deflect with humor or become angry and demanding
- They are passive during the appointment and have no questions
- They have trouble naming and/or explaining medications
- Incomplete registration forms
- They tell you they’ll look at the information at home
- They miss appointments or tests
Understanding your patient is as important as understanding your specialty. Working with older adults presents rewards and challenges unique to their demographic. They have numerous ailments and medications, see several specialists, and are reluctant to share much. They will want to know everything or be afraid to ask anything. They watch Dr. Oz and enlist WebMD to diagnose their condition and come up with a few new ones. And they want a pill with no side effects that’s covered by Medicare to cure them. Don’t even suggest a lifestyle change or they won’t come back. Why do they do that and how do you work around it?
Click here for important basics on making your patients comfortable.
No provider can be everything to their patient but delegating small tasks among your team can make a big difference. All of these suggestions are free and there are a number of resources in Charlotte to help. Knowing you’ve been able to help can reinvigorate your passion for senior care. Getting to know your patient base will only help you succeed. The rewards are great. Odds are you have a patient who has built a business, earned a purple heart, traveled the world or cared for the less fortunate. They have rich histories and accomplished the impossible and now they are relying on you. Talk with your team about the small ways you can show your appreciation. You work too hard not to smile at a job well done!
Virtual Dementia Tour®
Experience what it is like to have dementia.
Caring for another human being requires a special kind of person – someone who is empathetic, patient and kind. But how can a person who cares for elders be empathetic when they have never experienced old age in its fragile state? And yet we make decisions for and about our elders as though we know what they are coping with. Lessening the chasm between us and our elders gives us a greater chance of meeting their needs. Read More