Sunday, February 10, 2019

Words to Help Communicate

Critical Communication and Words to Help

When I went to visit the woman at the hospital because she was not getting her medication, her questions were not being answered and she was barely able to speak and eat, she shared how angry she was at the lack of attention she was getting.    It is understandable being alone, scared and as someone always in control, having your independence taken away.  Anyone would be vulnerable in this situation.  She was calling people down the list of phone numbers of people who worked in the hospital she received and in her weakened voice from a painful condition affecting her voice. She told me she screamed “Help, help!!” into the phone.

By the time I got there and cleared up the problems she was having, I explained that yelling “help” into the phone, or in a hospital, may actually get people to turn the sound off in their head.  They may think of you’re as crazy, or annoying, I told her and like many of the buzzing sounds and alarms that scare or annoy us, they can tune sounds out – or, if someone needs them more, that’s where they will go and yelling help will only annoy other patients and staff.

Instead, what patients can do is let them know that you don’t feel that you are part of the care.  Patient centered care is a term that professionals use to keep the patient in the center of the care team.  Nurses shift changes should not be at their desk or in the hall. The patient should expect the shift change at the patient’s bedside so you can help answer questions or share concerns.  Don’t hesitate to let the staff know that the care does not feel “patient centered” if it, in fact doesn’t.    

Yelling help also doesn’t give specifics such as letting them know if you don’t feel “safe”.  Feeling unsafe because you’re not getting your medication, or the proper medication, your doctor has not come around while you are awake to speak to you about your diagnosis, treatment plan or answer your questions are real reasons to feel your safety may be at risk because you are not being included in the planning.

A clear explanation of your needs is important for the medical staff to know what you need and of course, if you can’t get out of bed having a friend or family member help you is important.  If the person visiting you can’t do this, think now who that person will be, before you need them. 

Now available seminars and programs Critical Communication  

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