Challenging interactions

6 phrases to calm an upset patient

Shared here, these de-escalation phrases offer a sneak peek into an April 11 webinar that will provide practical advice for dealing with difficult patients.

Physicians often find themselves dealing with difficult patients. Clinicians find as many as 15 percent of patient encounters to be difficult, according to one report.

AOA Insurance and Gallagher have teamed up to educate AOA members on how to deal with difficult patients through a free, one-hour webinar at 6:30 p.m. CT on Thursday, April 11. It will be presented by Mary Stoll, RN, senior risk manager at Gallagher.

What you will learn

The goal of the webinar is to identify which types of encounters are challenging, how physicians might be contributing to the problem, and which proactive steps might help manage these patients. The webinar will also summarize the process for discharging a patient from a practice when necessary.

6 calming phrases

As part of the webinar, physicians will learn strategies for calming upset patients, which can include incorporating one or more of the following six phrases from the Universal Upset Person Protocol into the conversation:

  • “You look really upset.”
  • “Tell me about it.”
  • “I’m so sorry this is happening to you.”
  • “What would you like me to do to help you?”
  • “Here’s what I’d like us to do.”
  • “Thank you for sharing your feelings; it’s important that I understand you today.”

Difficult patients can include those who are noncompliant, have complex health issues, are angry or manipulative, or avoid paying. While dealing with difficult patients is an inevitable part of being a physician, there are ways to mitigate the stress and inefficiencies these scenarios may cause.

“This webinar will help DOs to re-think the challenging patient,” Stoll says. “It offers practical advice for clinicians, hospital and office staff on how best to interact with these patients.”

Register for the free webinar here.

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