Dealing with difficult or dissatisfied patients is anything but easy. However, with the tips and attitude, you can navigate these tricky patient situations and emerge unscathed. Here’re some tips to handle a difficult patient:
1. Listen to the patient: Do not try to talk over the patient or argue with him or her. Let the patient vent it out, even if you know what’s coming next, even if the patient doesn’t have all the information correct.
2. Empathize with the patient to build rapport: Put yourself in the patient’s shoes when handling a difficult patient. Find out the source of the angry patient’s frustration and tell them that you understand the situation. If you can identify with the issue, it will help calm down the patient.
3. Never raise your voice: Even if the angry patient gets louder, you must keep your tone low. Your calm demeanor will help the patient to settle down. When you approach the situation with a clear mind, the patient’s anger will slowly dissipate.
4. Assume other patients are watching: If you pretend you are not talking only to a patient but an audience, your perspective will shift to provide an emotional buffer and allow you to think clearly when responding.
5. Know when to compromise: If satisfying the patient will take two days and risk negative reviews, it is probably better to come to a compromise in the patient’s favor to give you more time to nurture other patients.
6. Don’t take it personally: The patient doesn’t know you, and he or she is just venting frustration at you because you represent your medical practice. Just ignore personal comments, guide the conversation back to the primary issue, and how you intend to address it.
7. Give the patient the benefit of the doubt: We all have bad days. Maybe the angry patient had a fight at home or work or just had a bad day overall. Try to make the upset patient’s day better by being a calming, pleasant voice – it’ll help make you feel better too.
8. Keep your promises: If you promise to call the patient back with an update, make it a point to call at the scheduled time. The patient will be reassured that you were not trying just to be nice verbally and appreciate the follow-up.