Whether COVID positive or not, patients and caregivers are feeling isolated and disconnected. Physical distancing and barriers block patients from feeling connected with their healthcare providers. Many feel awkward, uncomfortable, and unsure of what to expect in this new normal.
The patient to caregiver connection and improved communication is essential to successful healthcare delivery. Unfortunately, many patients have felt disconnected from their healthcare providers, even before the pandemic.
Connecting with patients boils down to letting them know that you respect and value them. Ensuring a strong patient connection can be done by giving particular care to three things: time, attention, and education.
With all of the new protocols and safety measures resulting from the pandemic, it’s much harder for patients to connect with their healthcare providers. Additional time spent on sanitization may cut into the time a doctor or nurse can give each patient. And, with so many patients to see in one day, doctors often aren’t given the appropriate time needed for a thorough assessment. Caregivers need to provide their patients with their full attention in the small amount of time they have, while still performing tasks in a time-efficient manner. For most caregivers, the solution to this problem is to use digital systems to perform tasks quickly and efficiently. However, the EMR can also lead to a greater disconnect when caregivers are spending more time on data entry than communication.
While timeliness is critical to the patient-caregiver relationship, the systems that should connect people the most often cause more significant connection issues than they solve. Digital systems have very positive benefits for speed and convenience in a hospital or other healthcare office. They allow doctors and nurses to quickly record, research, and share information that would take much longer without the current technology.
However, digital systems can create separation between the doctor and the patient. Suppose the caregiver is looking at their computer as opposed to making eye contact with the patient. In that case, the patient may feel like they are not getting the caregiver’s attention to assess and meet their needs accurately.
Patients want to be in control, or at least heavily involved, in the choices made about their health. It can be challenging to feel included and educated in decision-making if patients aren’t getting proper attention from their caregiver. Separation is created between the patient and the caregiver if they are sitting on either side of a computer screen for most of the appointment. Even if the healthcare provider is invested in what the patient says, patients will often feel like they aren’t listening or don’t care.
Patient education is key to taking control of their health and understanding any issues or challenges they may face. Educating a patient requires more than listing out medical terms and droning on about side effects. To help a patient feel educated, the caregiver must listen first and understand the patient’s concerns, preferences, barriers, and ability to comprehend before explaining. And to fully gauge a patient’s understanding often requires physical cues that only face-to-face interaction can give.
Suppose a patient feels their caregiver has heard them out, broken down the situation, and taken the time to help them understand the solution. In that case, they will be more satisfied with the care received. Many patients feel ignored, looked down upon, or think that the caregiver was not giving them their full attention. Those patients leave the doctor’s office feeling confused, offended, or even angry.
Now more than ever, with distancing, increased PPE usage, and mask requirements, finding ways to connect with patients can be difficult. It can be challenging to feel connected when all these things as well as the EMR separates the patient and caregiver or forces a caregiver to turn his/her back on the patient. This is why StableRise products allow the caregiver to always remain patient-facing. Caregivers can still utilize digital systems for fast processing but can also see the patient and evaluate non-verbal cues while the patient feels more involved in their care and decision making.
In addition to the benefits of remaining patient-facing, the height-adjustability of the StableRise can reduce discomfort, distress and/or fatigue in doctors and nurses allowing them to provide better care and create positive, long-lasting relationships with their patients.