Taking care of patients is not simple. You need to diagnose the patient’s illness, provide the appropriate treatment and make adjustments if the treatment proves ineffective. As well as treating the illness, you also need to take care of the patient’s overall well-being.
But there are other aspects of managing a hospital or a clinic that are difficult, such as dealing with the business side of healthcare and managing volatile relatives.
Fortunately, there are medical practice management services you can hire to take care of the business side of your hospital. As for dealing with family members of patients who are understandably upset, here are a few suggestions on how to handle them.
1. If they’re yelling, keep quiet
A lot of family members do become highly emotional when they’re hit with the news that their loved one is seriously ill. So, if engage you an emotional even hostile way, understand it’s not against you but more a reaction to the illness of their family member.
Eventually, the anger will subside and that’s when you can provide the information they’ll need.
2. Provide as much info as possible
The reason why family members are often agitated when they hear that their loved one is ill is because they don’t know the whole story. It’s your job to provide them with the missing pieces and by doing this they’ll be more capable to think clearly about their loved one’s situation.
Tell them about the illness and the severity and how you’re planning to treat the patient. Setting expectations gives a family a realistic view of the current situation.
3. Establish who’s in control
There are some family members who may not be irate when they’re dealing with doctors and nurses but they’re also tough to deal with because they’re trying to take control of the situation. These are the people who often tell the doctor to try a treatment they have heard of, or they’ll constantly tell nurses how to do their jobs.
Letting these people take control of the situation is counter-productive and in a situation where a person’s life is on the line being counter-productive could lead to deadly results. So, if you encounter a family member who tries to overstep their boundaries, it’s your duty not to succumb but proceed with what you know is the best course of action.
Of course you wouldn’t want to anger the patient’s family member so here’s what you can do: let the person know that you and your team are doing everything to ensure that the patient is being taken care of. Let the family member know that you understand what she’s going through. But, she should let you do your job so that you can treat the patient in the best way.
Dealing with irate or obstructive family members makes your job a lot harder. But, that’s the reality that most doctors and nurses face. Not only is there the need to get the professional treatment right, there’s also the need to handle people who are agitated because of the difficulties they are facing.