Saturday, 28 February 2009

How to deal with angry Patient/Relatives

Allow the patient to voice his anger
Acknowledge the problem
Express concerns; Make him feel you are genuinely concerned
Formulate a plan of action which is mutually acceptable to rectify the situation
Consider complete incident form
If the patient wishes to complain provide him with the contact information.

Quick Guides
When a Patient is Angry about Others
•Pause and be attentive
•Avoid being defensive
•Stay curious about the patient's story
•Acknowledge the difficulty of the interaction
•Find out the specifics of the story--encourage the patient to give the details
•Express empathy for the patient--acknowledge the emotion by name
•Make a statement guessing at the meaning behind the patient's anger and validate
•Take an action on the patient's behalf if possible. Be an advocate
•When possible, link the patient with the resources that can help
•Transition to purpose for the visit

Questions that might help to uncover the source of anger (fear, guilt or 

Rapport Building:
"I can appreciate how you feel."
"It concerns me that you feel so strongly about this."
"Tell me how I can make it easier for you."

"You seem very angry?"
"It's unlike you to be like this."
"I get the feeling that you are upset with…"
"What is it that's upsetting you?"
"What really makes you feel this way?"

Facilitation, clarification:
"I find it puzzling that you are angry with me."
"So you feel that….."
"You seem to be telling me…."
"If I understand you correctly…"
"Tell me more about this."
"I would like you to enlarge on this point…it seems important."
"I agree that we must sort this out quickly as possible. I will
do everything I can, but it will help me if I know which aspect of how
you have been treated concern you the most of all"

"Do you have any special concerns about your health?"
"Tell me about things at home."
"How are things at work?"
"How are you sleeping?"
"Do you have any special dreams?"
"Do you relate to any one who has a problem like you have?"

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