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Successful communication makes a real difference to patient wellbeing and outcomes.

These are the simple strategies we think work best:

Listen

a patient wont always know whats wrong with them. But they can still tell you a great detail about their symptoms and how theyre feeling. Create the space for them to share. Then listen.

Ask

not all patients are forthcoming. Some wont want to complain, even if in acute pain. Silence or withdrawal can be warning signs. Ask them how theyre feeling and focus on their words and expressions.

Understand

whats bothering your patient most? Are the patients aims aligned with their care plan? Can that plan be better tailored to their needs? Understand the patients experience.

Explain

clarity of explanation is vital to the knowledge and empowerment of the patient. Does the patient understand the terms youre using? Are the words too technical or too vague? Gauge your audience. And explain clearly.

Check

patient care is a process. So is engagement. Things change – sometimes rapidly and silently. Have you or the patient failed to notice something? Always check.

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