The Power of Words

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The Power of Words

Think about your last experience in customer service - maybe you got your car fixed at the auto body shop or experienced a plumbing issue in your home. These are usually not cheap fixes and an area where many feel uneducated about the terminology. It can make you feel uneasy and requires a sense of trust in the technician diagnosing or fixing the problem. In the same way, your patients are trusting you to not only be clear in your directions but prove you are trustworthy and have their best interests in mind. Communication is important in nearly every profession, but in therapy, the patient experience and health outcomes are extremely dependent on your ability to communicate throughout the therapeutic relationship. They look to you to answer their questions and implement effective treatments.

Here are some ways to improve your communication with patients. 

Always Be Positive

Positivity is contagious. Many of the patients we see in therapy don’t start off with feeling positive about the road ahead. This is often due to the pain they have experienced for a long time or the tasks they are no longer able to complete on their own. The healthcare professional’s ability to keep the verbiage uplifting can counter the negative interjections given from the patient. Keep in mind that active listening plays a key role in positivity. You should be understanding and empathetic of their concerns so they feel heard, but be prepared to counter those with uplifting communication.

Set Expectations 

Therapists understand that in order for patients to have success, they must be compliant in completing their exercises at home. Be sure to be clear about how integral adherence to therapy movements are to them reaching their health goals. In fact, 25 percent of Americans do not adhere to the recommendation given by their clinicians. This is largely due to poor communication. Let them know that it is a two-way street. You will help guide them in recovery, based upon their communicated health goals, if they follow through at home. When this expectation is established, they will feel more confident with their therapy progression. 

Discuss Health Outcomes

Be clear and direct about the prognosis of each patient so they know what kind of outcome they are headed towards. This is often what patients want to know first. “Will I get better? Will I return to the lifestyle I once had?” We need to be clear and direct with each individual in order to establish trust and the patient’s belief in themselves to get to that final health outcome. Give them visualization techniques they can focus on when you know that a therapy session will be difficult. Remind them of why they should keep pushing for progress and keep encouraging them! 

The power of clearly communicating health outcomes will have a direct impact on the patient’s reported feelings about their overall treatment. To learn more about how you can provide an excellent rehabilitation experience, visit NARA.