How to Effectively Communicate with Patients

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How to Effectively Communicate with Patients

You always hear that communication is key. And it really is especially when dealing with patients. So as providers, how do we effectively communicate with patients, meaning listening to them and having them listen to you? Here are four steps to help make sure your communication with patients is as effective as it can be.

  • Turn those Listening Ears On – Good communication starts with good listening. Hear what your patients or caregivers have to say, let them express their concerns. We understand you could have 100 other things flying through your head but stop and take the time to listen to what they have to say. Give them your undivided attention and build the rapport with your patient and caregivers.
  • Provide a Judgement Free Zone – When it comes to discussing personal health issues it can be hard for patients to express certain symptoms or concerns so it’s imperative the environment is suitable to do so. Allow them to tell you how they’re feeling or explain what is wrong without interruption. Let them finish and if it’s needed ask more probing questions for elaboration on the things expressed.
  • Break it Down – Remember that your patients and caregivers may not be physicians, so it’s critical you break everything down and speak in layman's terms. Speak slowly, don’t rush when explaining things to patients. You may have to repeat what you said or even draw it out for them. Try to always break it down as simply as you can.
  • Ask for Confirmation – Communication is a two-way street. How can you ensure your patient understood what you said? Simple, ask them. Have them explain you to what was just communicated and that will give you a better idea of what points you may need to emphasize or touch on again.

Now it’s time to put all of this into practice! How do you best effectively communicate with your patients? If you’d like to see more information like this be sure to check our blog, or become a NARA member and attend webinars and our conferences