Imagine driving through an unfamiliar area, and there are no street signs. How would you feel? Frustrated? Scared? Angry? You would feel these emotions because you had no direction or guidance. Patients need direction when they enter the health care system. Signposting is a tool to provide direction. On the streets, there are posts that have signs. They provide direction; they tell us where we are going. Hence, the name, “signposting.” ...

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On July 3, 2015, at approximately 2:00 a.m., I was awakened by my mobile phone ringing.  I looked at the number the call was originating from and was fearful this was the call I was dreading to receive.  My mother’s long-term care facility was calling, and the news was not good.  My mother was found without a pulse and was rushed to a local hospital. I called the emergency department of ...

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You don’t have a second chance to make a great first impression.

If twenty random numbers were read aloud, most people would remember the first few numbers and the last few numbers.  We tend to remember beginnings and endings.  It is the same with patients; they tend to recall what they hear at the beginning and ...

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All health care professionals must be skilled at effectively communicating with patients who have dementia.  Some professionals may erroneously assume that only those employed in long-term care, assisted living facility, and other similar places need these skills.  However, patients with dementia visit medical practices, acute care hospitals and other health care centers.  This article will provide a framework to effectively interact with patients who have dementia. Go along to get along This ...

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A popular television commercial shows a group of older women playing cards. One woman talks about her friend who is struggling financially since her husband died (the husband only had a small life insurance policy). Another lady said that she doesn’t have to worry about that happening since her husband has an XYZ insurance policy. The other ladies immediately ask about the policy. Then a TV pitchman describes the policy ...

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The lyrics to Janet Jackson's song, Nasty, includes this line, "No, my first name ain't baby, it's Janet. Ms. Jackson if you're nasty." Miss Jackson doesn’t like being called, “baby,” and neither do a lot of patients. Many healthcare professionals call patients by nicknames, such as, "honey" and "sweetie." I believe these are terms of endearment and in most cases meant with genuine warm feelings toward patients. However, from interviewing hundreds ...

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Most healthcare professionals do not consider themselves to be in the field of sales.  However, healthcare professionals do sell something so they are in sales! Even if you may not have the titles of “salesman” or “saleswoman,” you are still in sales. Everyone sells something. Kindergarten teachers sell something (i.e., the value of education). What do healthcare professionals sell?  We sell the benefits of treating illness and promoting wellness. During ...

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All healthcare professionals are aware that patients flock to the Internet to get information about the disease entity they or a family member is currently experiencing.  There is a great deal of excellent evidence-based health information on the internet.  There is also a lot of misleading, useless and even dangerous information on the Internet.

Over the years, I have tried many approaches to educating patients as to how ...

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Growing up, I am sure you heard many “why” questions, such as: “Why is your room so messy?” and “Why didn’t you eat your vegetables?”  I am quite certain those questions made you feel defensive.  Patients also feel defensive when we ask them ”why” questions. In other words, “why” questions set people off.  These types of questions can turn a usually-friendly patient into an angry nightmare. Here is an example.  Your ...

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shutterstock_114405346 A presentation to patients is an excellent tool to communicate your message. However, the material must be presented in an effective and powerful manner.  These tips will help you deliver dazzling presentations. 1. Know your audience. Sounds obvious, but unfortunately I have seen many presentations delivered to patient groups that were full of medical jargon and complex slides.  Think about how people speak ...

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