Difficult patients are unavoidable in practice, and dealing with them often leads to increased stress. These patients can create unpleasant situations when things don’t go their way.
Follow these tips to handle even the most exasperating patients with empathy and professionalism.
1. Don’t Get Defensive
Even you know that you did nothing wrong, it’s best to respond with care and concern.
2. Let Your patient Tell Their Story
Angry patients will often reveal the source of their concern. It’s best to be quiet and wait until they’ve calmed down so you can collect your thoughts before responding to them.
3. Acknowledge the Situation
Start by saying, “I understand why you are upset”. You need to remain calm and take stock of your own emotions. Importantly, avoid negative language, which may lead to escalation of the situation.
4. Watch Your Body Language
If possible, sit down. This gesture shows that you have time to solve the problem. Your body language will tell more about your emotions than your words do.
5. Be Proactive
The most important tip, don’t ignore the problem or avoid communicating with an angry patient. It is essential to recognize when a patient is angry, determine the cause and implement these de-escalation techniques to improve care.
6. Administer Patient Satisfaction Surveys
This allows your patients to share their concerns. Tell your patients that you take their feedback seriously.
Responding appropriately to difficult patients keeps the stress away and prevent conflicts.