The process of communication with patients and families is an important one. Patients express their opinions, complaints, and problems through written correspondence, phone calls, meetings, and questionnaires. They may write about physical or emotional problems or adverse events that have happened within the family. As patients communicate their issues, they share parts of themselves with their families, creating a sense of connection.
This process of communication with patients and families can be a challenge for healthcare team members. Often, we find that there is an imbalance in the way information is shared. Some information is given to the patient or family member in an objective, unbiased manner, while others are more subjective, giving more of an opinion or an observation. How can we make sure the entire process of care is conducted in the most effective way possible?
To improving patient satisfaction scores within the healthcare organization, every team member must be trained in how to conduct such communications. Our training programs focus on this, making sure that all medical team members are well-trained and skilled in the art of communication. These communication sessions teach team members how to:
It is the nature of the written word that allows us to express ourselves to the world. There are few places where this communication process with patients and families is more important than in the emergency room. In the ER, the primary goal is to provide safe, professional care to the patient in an environment that maintains personal hygiene and a clean, orderly appearance. All EMTs are taught the basic process of communication with patients and families and how to follow the guidelines of the patient’s health insurance policy.
Communicating with the patient and their family or caregivers can include requests for information from the patient. The nature of the questions asked, the information needed, and the tone of voice used in the communication will all affect the communication outcome. When the patient’s family or caregivers do not understand the patient’s information, they should be provided with clarification. If they cannot provide the needed information or answer the questions, the patient should be courtesy of waiting for their answer and another physician in the room.
The communication process with patients and their families occurs in two parts: the initial communication where the doctor or EMT requests information and the follow-up communication where the patient and family members receive the information. This part of communication with patients and families should not be the focus of one moment during a medical event. Instead, it is a continuous process until the patient is released from the hospital and returned home. Once home, it is common to check with the local health department or office to make sure the patient received all the medical care they needed during the hospital stay. Some doctors and EMTs will assign a specific nurse to make the follow-up calls to ensure that the patient received all the necessary medical attention.
A patient may want to communicate with their family members after they have been discharged from the hospital. However, the process of communication with family members should be done in an orderly fashion. The patient should always be made aware of the process of communication with the patient and family members. Once the patient and family members understand the communication process, they should make sure all the information provided is true and correct. If not, the patient and family members may create some problems within the patient’s mind regarding the accuracy of the information provided.
The process of communication with patients and families can be a handy tool in health care facilities. This method of communication can be very effective if done correctly. However, the key to making communication work effectively is maintaining open and honest communication with patients and families. Everyone involved in the process of communication with patients and families should feel free to disagree, question, or challenge the doctor’s or other provider’s decisions.