How many times have you come across a bad, complicated situation, including health situations of course, where it could’ve been prevented by using a better communication skill?
Good communication is probably one of the most important skills when working in the medical and allied health system. The information which we need to communicate about and pass onwards or between different health providers and other relevant parties, is many times critical and always requires privacy and accuracy.
When one needs professional medical opinion, we need to consider patients complains, concerns, expectations and self believes throughout their entire recovery process.
Many time GP’s advice patients about what tests, scans or medications they need to take, what specialist they need to see. They will consider their patients’ medical history, their social and family support network and the list is obviously long…
The physiotherapist then needs to consider all of the above, decide on best rehabilitation plan, update the referring GP regarding new findings and treatment plan and refer the patient back to the GP when appropriate (e.g., for further investigation/ updates / new yellow and/or red flags (new risk factors), so that nothing is missed out and patient’s health is under control.
Sometimes guardians or parents need to be part of the triangle of communication. They can contribute a lot to one’s treatment plan and play a meaningful and important roll. For example, report on any change in their loved ones’ health, safety, well-being, concerns. They can help with technology, communication, transportation to medical appointments, translations and any information that will shad lighter on patient’s needs and wants.
When a fourth party, such as a case manager, a social worker, a psychologist, psychiatrist, podiatrist and different medical specialists are involved in ones’ treatment plan, it is important to report to them any relevant information, with the patient consent of course, so they will attend any issue as soon as possible too.
When all of the above parties communicate well, then the patient under their care will be getting the best care plan, with the least stressful influences. And you must know that stress has a very negative effect on the human body. Avoiding stress will promote body recovery.
Stress can depress the body immune system. Therefore, we should help our participants avoid stress as much as we can. By educating our patients, explaining our findings, our plans for them and the processes we sign them for, and most of all, by listening to them carefully, we can all have a major effect on their recovery!
To summarize, a patient’s entire support network, should communicate well between themselves, as well as to their patient and empower them with relevant information, listen to them carefully, so they can learn more about one’s condition, needs and concerns and provide them with the best care!