As a doctor or nurse, one of your daily responsibility has to be dealing with Vulnerable Patients. Dealing with people is a complex thing to master and dealing with patients is an added layer of complexity. Vulnerable Patients are always hard to deal with because human nature does not deal well with being in pain, helpless, or having someone else poke around their body. Thanks to psychology, researchers have bee able to classify vulnerable patients into different categories and offer suggestions on how to deal with these patients. Let’s discuss the different kinds of vulnerable patients below
The Angry Vulnerable Patients
Angry patients are the most common types of vulnerable patients that doctors and nurses will encounter. There are a variety of reasons why patients could be angry and a lot of times it could have nothing to do with the doctor or nurse or the care they are receiving. The anger might be due to their illness or the cause of their injury or the fact that they don’t want to be there. Often times, angry patients end up being disrespectful and loud. A healthcare professional should be trained in being able to emotionally detach themselves from such situations and not get angry back. Healthcare professionals should emotionally detach, and take a minute to cool off outside the room or away from the patient if needed. Afterward, they should talk to the patients and acknowledge that they are angry. Mastering this skill is important because it helps the doctor or nurse navigate thing slike apologizing without admitting fault and calming the patient down without escalating the situation. Changing the atmosphere is also a good strategy. You can talk about something else with the patient to get their mind off what’s making them angry or mention the positives of their situation. Inform them on things they should know and change the conversation to something more uplifting or neutral.
The Anxious Patient
Anxiety can be crippling and it could also make attending to a patient quite difficult if the patient has a lot of anxiety. Some patients do not like going to hospitals or are scared of needles and this makes them anxious or scared. Patient anxiety could lead them to cry or shake in fear or be very quiet. When a patient is anxious, it could lead to them not disclosing their health problems completely. It is important that a doctor or nurse spots an anxious patient and make them feel more relaxed. Discuss things with them about their condition that have positives and could offer silver linings to their condition.
The Self-Diagnosing Patient
Self-diagnosis is a habit we all have been guilty of at some point. You feel pain or feel ill and you go on the internet and start to google your symptoms. Fast-forward thirty minutes later and you are pretty sure your headache is a symptom of a chronic illness and you have two days to live. With the rise of technology and the increasing ease in which we can use it, more and more people go online to self-diagnose even while they are in the hospital. For a doctor or nurse who has spent years in school and has an in-depth knowledge on what might be wrong, dealing with a self-diagnosing patient might be quite annoying. Sometimes patient takes it so far as to request the type of treatments or tests that they think they need and insist on them. They undermine the doctors and insist on their own diagnosis. The best way to deal with self-diagnosing patients is to let them finish speaking then offer your professional diagnosis. Walk your patient through your treatment plana and explain to them why they need the tests you are recommending and not the ones they think they need. Also, share some online sources that are reputable and that back your diagnosis up with the patients. Since they love to believe what’s online so much, reading something on their phone that backs up your professional diagnosis will make them feel better. It seems like a lot to go through to treat a patient but it comes with the territory.
The Flaky Patient
Flaky patients are at least an inconvenience to doctors and nurses and at worst, they are bad for business. When a patient is flaky and does not show up for an appointment or a scheduled visit, they take up time that would have been used for other patients. Also, flaky patients can be consistently late and thus they ruin the schedule for that day. You could end up spending less time with them which means you don’t get to provide the best and all-encompassing treatment, or you spend the whole scheduled time with them (even after they are late) and that throws off the whole schedule for the day or even the week and you also piss off your other patients who are early. Now that’s for late patients. When a patient does not show up, they can cost the hospital lots of money in missed payments. Hospitals can try to reduce this by charging penalties for patients who don’t show up. They could also double check or triple check with patients for appointments and send reminder emails and text messages. You could also have an online portal where patients can change their appointments, choose different appointment times or cancel. Many people do not like to call and so having to call to change an appointment gets putt off and even forgotten and so they don’t. Being able to do it online makes patients more likely to cancel or change appointments ahead of time.