The Experience of Listening
May 21, 2020
As a care manager who supports the patients of our amazing Heart and Spine Medical Device clients in their quest to provide extraordinary treatment outcomes, I am especially aware of how difficult these times are on everyone.
With our healthcare system on overload and many practices closed, patients emotions and stress levels are running high. Patients want to be heard and reassured. I am fortunate in that I can have truly meaningful conversations where I get to listen and help address these patient concerns. This doesn’t mean I get to go outside the regulations or rewrite program designs. It simply means we take time to listen and empathize and that makes all the difference.
Taking the time and allowing for honest conversation results in a patient feeling heard. Acknowledging their fears and frustrations is validating and important in helping to settle the patient and earn their trust. Discussing a future plan of action changes the focus from feeling helpless and overwhelmed too, “this will pass, and I can get on with my treatment”.
I recently talked to a patient whose life-saving heart procedure had been indefinitely postponed and she was forced into isolation for 38 days due to COVID-19 AND where she was unable to reach anyone in her health care providers office. Her reaction?
Interacting with patients during these times has helped shift the feelings of deep isolation and uncertainty to a feeling of “I am not alone in this.” And that is what I love about my job!!
I hope you and your patients take the time to listen and empathize. We need each other during these difficult times.
Take care, stay safe.