As a caregiver, your primary concern is improving the quality of care you give to your patients. However, you can’t provide a better quality of care without developing relationships with your patients.
Many caregivers are unsure how to create meaningful and long-lasting relationships when they have brief interactions with their patients. Here are a few ideas to help you make the most out of every encounter.
Prepare For Each Interaction
Both patients and caregivers can benefit from the transparency and convenience that EHR software provides. For the caregiver, reviewing a patient’s records via the EHR portal ahead of meeting with a patient in person allows them to become better informed about their history. Sometimes, patients can feel frustrated in repeating the same information when their account is accessible via their online records.
In taking the time to review those records, you can avoid asking redundant questions. Many caregivers bring a laptop into the examination room because it allows the doctor and patient to review their records together. This creates better transparency and more accuracy while helping to explore issues that the patient might otherwise forget to address.
Practice Your Active Listening Skills
When improving their communication skills, too many people focus primarily on communicating their ideas rather than enhancing their listening skills. As a caregiver, your active listening skills are essential in helping you to develop meaningful relationships with your patients. If your patients feel as though you’re distracted or rushed as they speak to you, they may become less communicative with you.
Instead of thinking of your response to their statements, concentrate more on what they say to you. As they talk, you should look into their eyes and notice their hand gestures and body movements. All of this information can help understand your patient’s concerns while also helping you build trust with your patients.
Acknowledge Your Patient’s Emotions
In speaking with your patients about a medical condition they may be experiencing, it’s important to remember that you can acknowledge their feelings without expressing your own beliefs. This is an important distinction because many caregivers avoid addressing a patient’s emotions altogether, and that’s counterproductive to forming relationships with patients. You can acknowledge a patient’s feelings by rephrasing a statement as a question. For example, when a patient with Alzheimer’s disease expresses a desire to go home, you can ask them why they want to go home.
Rephrasing statements can help you get patients to talk more about their condition while also showing empathy towards your patients. In this way, you’ll be building trust and the basis for a long-lasting relationship.
Letting your patients know that you understand their fear, confusion, or apprehension can help them feel more confident and help you, making it easier for them to trust you to help them.
Discuss Alternative Treatments
Patients feel out of control when a caregiver determines the best course of treatment and hands them a prescription. Instead, discuss the options with your patient. Opening the door to a discussion can help you learn about alternative therapies to help you that the patient may already be trying.
This is information that may influence your diagnosis or affect any other treatments you administer. Additionally, you can help your patient explore alternatives to medication or surgery. Ask your patient if they are willing to consider lifestyle changes and discuss whether they think they can make those changes. If so, they may be able to obtain better results through those lifestyle changes.
Talking with your patient about all of the available options and the efficacy of each option will help you understand your patient better. It will also help your patient to feel as though they’re in more control of their treatment.
You can use these tips to create a strategy that can help you build stronger relationships with your patients. When you practice these suggestions regularly, they will become a natural part of your interaction with each patient. As a result, patients will feel more comfortable opening up to you, which will also help build trust vital to better caregiver/patient relationships.