Most healthcare professionals start off their careers full of bright, shiny enthusiasm to get their patients or clients to accept the ideal care they now know how to deliver.
However, as time goes on and you have presented hundreds and thousands of treatment plans or made your best recommendations, you have probably had your advice rejected time and time again. Extremely frustrating, right? After all, you are only offering the person the best possible care … how can they not see that and go ahead with it?!!
The clam shell
The hardest kind of person to deal with is probably the one that is the clam shell patient or client who sits silent or clammed up in front of you, and you talk and talk but can’t seem to make an impact. No feedback. They won’t tell you what the problem is.
Opening up the clam shell
Here are a variety of questions that you might find helpful to get the patient or client into communication with you (they are not in any particular order):
What did you come here to handle?
Have you been given advice already concerning this?
How important is it to deal with this problem?
Did you come here because YOU wanted to or because someone MADE you come?
Are you worried about anything concerning this treatment?
Did I or one of my staff say something that you didn’t agree with?
What other solutions have you tried regarding this problem?
How long have you had this problem?
What outcome do you want to have from this appointment?
Is there anything you are embarrassed to say or share with me?
Have you run across any information that is contrary to what I have told you today?
What do YOU think should be done?
Do you have any questions big or small?
You may have to ask a number of the questions before you hit the one where you can get the person sharing information with you.
Silence is a tool
Here’s another key technique or tool. This is based on the fact that people hate a silence and always try to fill it. So if you have a patient who is giving you the silent treatment, ask your question and give him lots of opportunity to fill the silence by answering.
Once you have the person talking to you, you will have some information from them that you will now be able to deal with and hopefully handle in such a way as to get them to go ahead with the ideal care you want to deliver to them.