Life does not stop during a global pandemic. Everyday illnesses continue to affect patients nationwide. Even with their health and well-being at risk, many patients are scared to seek proper medical treatment because they fear catching the coronavirus. As a healthcare provider, it is your responsibility to talk with and educate patients about receiving medical care during the pandemic. Use the tips below as a guide when talking to patients.
Speak the Patient's Language
Lack of knowledge about illness combined with fear and anxiety often causes people to panic even when it is unnecessary. The best way to calm patients' fear is by speaking their language. Instead of using complex medical terms to describe their condition, use common words and phrases. Patients are often less scared when they feel like they have a better understanding of their illness. After explaining their medical condition, you should allow the patient to ask questions and make sure they have a clear understanding of their treatment plan.
Inform Patients About Treatment Options
Typically, patients schedule office appointments with their doctor, but COVID-19 is changing the way healthcare works. The CDC is encouraging patients to receive treatment virtually, if possible. However, constant media coverage of the coronavirus is causing a heightened sense of fear nationwide, resulting in patients going to the emergency room if they have the slightest sign of illness. Healthcare providers should use this time to educate patients on the different places to receive care when ill such as remotely via telehealth, in-office (if absolutely necessary), or the emergency room if their illness is life-threatening
The best thing a healthcare provider can do is reassure patients during uncertain times. In this day in age patients have access to many forms of media -- some are credible channels and others spread false information. Let your patients know that if they follow the recommendations from experts such as washing their hands, maintaining six feet apart, and not touching their face, that decreases the likelihood of contracting viruses. You can also reassure patients by letting them know that they can contact you directly or another representative at the office if the patient has additional questions or concerns.
Share Tips for Maintaining a Healthy Lifestyle
Healthcare providers should share information with patients about how they can maintain their health while isolated at home. Remind patients of the importance of balanced diets, exercise, and social connection (virtually). All three factor into people's overall health and well-being and it's up to you to educate their patients about best practices for their health.
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