Blog #60 Making Sense to our Patients
So many physios have spent years developing their clinical knowledge and reasoning however the biggest challenge is explaining this all to our patients. An initial consultation can be quite overwhelming for a patient and more often or not, they leave the consultation and forget 70% of what was discussed. It might make perfect sense to us as we are treating patients everyday, however to a patient this is normally the first time they have heard the given information. Textbooks are great at teaching us the knowledge, however as a new graduate it is important to remember that the person sitting in front of you will vary from the next.
Advice on how to Overcome Overwhelming a Patient:
- Avoid Medical Jargon
- Slow down your consultation and be mindful of how fast you are talking
- Check for a patient’s understanding throughout the consultation
- Have a diagnostic script practiced so that you are educating your patient in a clear and concise
manner which flows freely and confidently
- Be relatable- a diagnosis may be scary for a patient so by being relatable it can help patients feel as though you have treated other people with the same condition and are confident in your advice
- Show empathy and understanding
- Identify patient goals early and show a patient how your recommended treatment plan will assist them in achieving their goals
As a new graduate, it is so easy to fall into the trap of showing patients how much knowledge you have and reciting every aspect of a certain condition. It is important however to break this knowledge down into a step by step process to make it easier for patients to understand the information and follow their rehabilitation program. This will ultimately affect the rapport and trust you have with a patient and how much they will commit to the rehabilitation process.
If a patient is unaware of how long their rehabilitation will take, they will often think within a couple of sessions that they should be “fixed”. This expectation can then be challenging to manage as a physiotherapist as the patient may have developed an unrealistic idea of how many sessions they will require. This will more often or not mean that they patient doubts you and your clinical treatment skills and will drop off the books. If you clearly outline the plan in the initial consultation, a patient is more likely to adhere to your advice and rebook as per your recommendation.