How to Communicate and Ask Questions that Get Your Patients to Actually Share What’s Going On
August 09 2019
There are Several Techniques You can Utilize to get Your Patients to Open Up About Their Health
There are many reasons why a patient may not open up about what is really going on with their health. For example, a patient may think the concern isn’t really a big enough deal to warrant your attention. On the other hand, some patients may be too embarrassed to share their concerns. Whatever their reasoning for not sharing, it is critical that you encourage communication and engagement from your patients.
By communicating in a certain way or by posing questions in a particular way, you can elicit more information from your patients. By having more accurate information, you will be able to formulate a better care plan that will be much more effective for your patients.
Practice Good Communication Skills
1When you show a genuine interest in the patient, are friendly, listen carefully and show empathy as well as compassion, this will signal to the patient that you are someone they can open up to. Using these good communication skills can foster better communication between you and the patient as well as build mutual trust and respect. Once you have earned a patient’s trust, they are often much more comfortable sharing concerns about their health with you.
Utilize a Basic Outreach Question
2Though many patients may answer “no” or shrug their shoulders, one of the biggest things you can do is to always ask, “Do you have any questions or concerns?” Though this general question may not immediately elicit more information, it does show that you care. Don’t be discouraged and keep asking this question with genuine concern for your patients! After actively reaching out with this question, even if it takes a few tries, your patient is more likely open up about some health concerns they are having. When your patient does speak up, be ready to respond, even if it is validating their concern and telling them you will inquire with the doctor and get back to them as soon as possible.
Encourage Patient Engagement
3Do not just talk at your patient. Instead of just stating what you will do for treatment, encourage patient engagement by speaking in a way that conveys that you are a partner in their health care plan. Use phrases such as, “I’d like to speak with you about…,” “Have you heard of…?” or “Let’s talk about your care options.” These types of phrases are much more likely to solicit engagement from your patient. Once they are engaged, they will be more likely to share other information with you that can help better or change their care plan.
Ask Open-Ended Questions
4Ask questions that require more than just a yes or no answer. This will require a patient to reveal more details.
5Family caregivers can be a huge resource. Not only can you have them help to encourage the patient to share their health concerns, but they can also speak up for the patient on their behalf. This is especially helpful for those who may suffer from poor mental health or patients who are trying to be stoic. Speak with family caregivers to get their insight and to educate them on how they can help you to encourage the patient to speak up.
Building trust with a patient is just the first step to getting them to open up about their health concerns. From encouraging patient engagement in their health care plan to asking open-ended questions, you will be able to help your patients talk about what is really going on. By having more or better information, you will be able to help create a more effective care plan for your patients.