Home Health & Hospice

Q: What are some strategies I can share with my staff to effectively work with argumentative patients?

Homecare Insider, August 19, 2013

 

Q: What are some strategies I can share with my staff to effectively work with argumentative patients?

A: Working with argumentative patients can be challenging for even the most seasoned home health professional. Most importantly, staff should try to remain calm.

  • Call the patient by name but then be still and listen.
  • Do not try to convince the patient that he or she is wrong and do not allow him or her to provoke you into a shouting match.
  • Let the patient do most of the talking.
  • Show the patient that you are listening by using attending words such as “Yes. I can see how you might feel that way.”
  • When you find a point of agreement, ask more questions to help him or her relate this situation to other situations in the past where he or she was more effective.
  • If you are wrong or need to change something, admit it and take responsibility. You might say, “You are right. I needed to have that ready earlier and here is what I will do about it next time.”

Just remember that if a situation escalates and becomes more verbally abusive, remove yourself from the situation. Stop and put your hands up like a stop sign, and firmly state, “You are very angry right now and you are saying things you don’t mean,” (give the patient benefit of the doubt), “so I am going in the other room to give you some time to calm down.” Then leave the room.