How to Communicate Effectively with Your Patient
Communicating with a patient is one of the most important aspects of being a caregiver. You want to make sure that the client feels understood, valued and respected, while you communicate with them the things that you need in order to keep them healthy. You may find it challenging to find a creative and polite way to express your concerns for their well-being, or to tell them that you are going to be helping them carry out a task that they previously have refused to do. It can be challenging to engage in communication with your client if he or she is reluctant to allow you to help them as a caregiver. Here are some tips you can take to improve your communication with your patient:
- Learn to respect their home, their privacy and them as individuals. When you are communicating with your client, remember that you are in their personal space and their home. If you are suggesting rearranging the furniture to make it easier for them to move around safely, remember that you are asking to alter their living space. Respect goes a long way and you can have more effective communication by saying things like “I know this is your home, and I want you to feel comfortable in it but…”
- Be compassionate to their situations. Whether your patient is simply aging, or they were recently diagnosed with an illness, compassion can go a long way in your communication habits. Remember that your client is likely going through a lot in their own head and facing a lot of changes within themselves as well. If they seem hardened or reluctant in their communication with you, try not to get offended or off put. Simply remember that they are going through their own battle, and that you are there to make their lives easier and show them kindness.
- Show them that you are listening to them. Part of being a great communicator is what you do when you are not physically speaking to someone. When your client is speaking to you, remember to show them you are paying attention and that you value what they have to say. Your body language plays a huge part in them feeling heard, such as eye contact and nodding your head to acknowledge their words.
- Choose your words wisely. Positive reinforcement and uplifting language can help create an effective line of communication between you and your client. Remember to speak to them in an uplifting tone and to use words such as “wonderful” or “excellent” when describing their habits. For example, if you are helping your patient perform physical therapy exercises, let them know that they are doing a wonderful job and you are proud of their progress. Even if you must let them know they have to work harder, you can first tell them that you are proud of them for their hard work, but they may need to work on their exercises more often to improve.
Communication between a patient and a caregiver can be difficult, frustrating and seem impossible. However, with these tips, you can communicate in a more effective and positive way. We hope that you and your patient will continue to feel valued, respected and heard throughout your relationship.