Common Patient Concerns That You Need to Be Aware Of
People seek medical attention because they want their health issues addressed. But as they go through the process of receiving care, they find that many things worry them other than their health problems. These 'other' concerns are roadblocks that prevent people from getting the best service possible.
As a caregiver, you can step in and help patients receive the best care possible by first knowing what makes them uneasy and uncertain in their care.
Here are some of the most common patient concerns:
1. They feel unsafe.
According to a study, patients sometimes sense that they are in harm's way even if they're already in a healthcare setting. It's particularly bothersome to know this as a caregiver because patients are supposed to trust that they are in good hands in every aspect of care. But they still worry and feel threatened in these ways:
a. Not promptly knowing about changes and updates in their condition and treatment.
Sometimes patients are even the last to know. The lack of honesty and updated information can trigger anxiety.
b. Loss of control.
Diseases and even the normal aging process can lead to many physical limitations. As patients become more dependent on others for their care, they also lose control of themselves and their environment. It scares patients to rely on other people for their needs.
c. Fewer staff visits.
When caregivers and other personnel are frequently unavailable to help a patient with their activities of daily living, they think of it as neglect. It triggers negative thoughts, such as this: "It's been hours since they checked on me. My blood pressure may be high, and they wouldn't even know." They either start to assume that the facility is short-staffed or doubt their caregiver’s sincerity.
d. Lack of empathy and meaningful connection.
Caregivers sometimes become too preoccupied with tasks, that they unintentionally ignore those that they care for. As caregivers become less patient-centered, patients begin to think that they are not receiving proper attention.
Patients interpret the staff's lack of presence as uncaring and without genuine concern. Then they start to question everything, from diagnosis to treatment.
e. When no one listens.
Patients need to be heard. If they get ignored, it only means that the healthcare team failed to understand their situation. Frustrations and discontent mount. The patient’s trust in the process wanes, too, and then they doubt every decision regarding their treatments. Patients also start to anticipate errors in the way they receive care.
f. When the staff shows a lack of competence.
Imagine yourself in the patient's shoes. You have a heart condition, and it's difficult to breathe. The nurse is 'taking time' to hook up the oxygen properly. The tube keeps detaching and falling. If you were the patient, wouldn't you worry and get scared, too?
It would be so difficult to entrust your health to people who don't seem to know what they're doing. When patients sense that the staff is incompetent, they get alarmed and frightened.
2. Lack of support.
Another concern is the lack of support when navigating the healthcare system. Although facilities are always coming up with many strategies to help, the patient can still be lost in the complexities of healthcare services.
The same is also true for accessing social support. A strong support network is crucial to emotional and mental health because it gives a sense of belongingness and hope.
3. Loss of dignity.
Patients lose their dignity when they feel disrespected. Any situation where they are embarrassed, ignored, and helpless, leads to a loss of dignity.
Being exposed during patient care procedures, caregivers downplaying their concerns and complaints, the lack of control, being unable to decide for themselves, and the loss of independence, are some of the common ways that patients lose dignity.
As a caregiver, you can make a difference in a patient's life by being there for them more often and knowing what bothers them, even the seemingly insignificant ones. When you help address their concerns, you help allay their fears. It And this is what providing dignified care is all about.