How to Effectively Deal with Your Difficult Patients
The ability to deal with your patients’ concerns is one of the many essential characteristics of a successful medical professional. Sometimes you may encounter an angry, rude, unhappy, or anxious patient. When this happens, here’s how you can deal with such patients.
Different Types of Difficult Patients
- Angry Patients
- Rude Patients
- Unhappy Patients
- Anxious Patients
How to Deal with Angry Patients
Given the nature of your work, you’ll definitely encounter angry patients. Here are tips that can help you get a positive response at the end of your interaction.
1. Stay calm and maintain good body posture
It can be challenging to stay composed when you are dealing with an angry patient. However, you should remain calm.
Speak slowly without raising your voice and maintain a relaxed posture.
2. Actively listen to the patient
Actively listen to the person by:
- Maintaining eye contact
- Verbally responding to them
Don’t try to interrupt angry patients, as this will make them vent out even more. Give the patients space to express themselves.
3. Respond to the anger
When the patient is quiet, and you will have known why he/she is angry, be empathetic. This will make the patient feel listened and cared about. If you have wronged the patient, apologize.
You can also ask the patient what you can do to resolve the situation. Alternatively, suggest a plan on how you can help the patient going forward.
Finally, end the conversation on a positive note.
How to Deal with Rude Patients
In some instances, you may encounter a disrespectful patient. Here are tips for dealing with such a patient.
4. Remain calm
The best approach to take when dealing with a rude patient is to remain calm. If you are having a difficult time remaining calm, take a few breaths.
5. Reframe the situation
Try to look at the situation from the patient’s perspective. For example, the patient may be rude because he/she is in pain or depressed.
This approach will help you understand where the patient is coming from and avoid being defensive.
6. Acknowledge their grievances
Acknowledge the situation at hand and ask the patient what he/she feel should be done to resolve the situation.
For example, you can say something like this “I know that you are angry about this situation. Tell us what we can do to make you feel better”
7. Set boundaries
If the patient is persistently rude and abusive, you’ll need to set boundaries. For instance, let the rude patient know that he/she can’t use offensive language in your facility.
Set your limits and let rude patients be aware that there are consequences if they continue acting a certain way.
How to Deal with Unhappy Patients
Unhappy patients may prompt you to get defensive. Rather than trying to avoid the confrontation, follow the tips below to resolve the situation.
8. Acknowledge their concerns
The patients may believe that you have wronged them, and that’s why they may be upset. Rather than trivializing this belief, accept that you have hurt them even if they may be exaggerating or incorrect.
Listen to your patients and let them vent all their grievances. Once they are done, restate their concerns in a relaxed manner without defending or justifying yourself.
Apologize for what the patient is feeling. Even if you are not in the wrong, give a sincere apology. The
apology can diffuse the patient’s frustrations.
How to Deal with Anxious Patients
You may need to address the concern of patients who may be worried about their treatment. Here are tips on how to do it:
11. Educate the patients and their family members about the procedure
Being aware of the treatment available can reduce a patient’s anxiety. Extend education to family members.
An interactive educational session is much better than giving the patient an instructional leaflet.
12. Calmly empathize with the patients
Empathize with the patients in a calm and understanding manner. Put yourself in their shoes and treat them how you would like to be treated under similar circumstances.
Each patient you see deserves the best care. These tips will help you care for difficult patients.