The Four Fundamentals of Patient Care: Part III

The first fundamental of showing your patients how much you care is “Know Them,” followed by “Don’t Judge” and “Show Empathy.” In the third and final installment of this blog series, I’d like to share the fourth fundamental: Resolve Complications!

4. Resolve Complications! Occasionally even the best teams have patient complications arise. It is important to address complications ASAP by being mindful of the energy and attitude you are bringing to the conversation. Focus on coming from a place or mindset of curiosity, care and concern. It is never about proving you are right and they are wrong. We never win by making a patient wrong. Regardless of what the concern is, start out by asking the patient “How can I help you?” Then stop and listen to what they have to say. Please don’t try to feel in the blanks or be defensive.

Once the patient has stopped speaking, ask the next question: “May I have your permission to give you feedback?” This does several things. If the patient has not finished sharing their concerns, they have the opportunity to let you know they have more. This stops us from stepping on their words. It also gets the patient ready to listen to our response. Regardless of what you are going to suggest, respond by saying, “I can help you and this is how.” Avoid responses starting with, “I can’t” or “I won’t,” because they often generate an immediate defensive reaction from the patient. Our patients will feel we care when we utilize positive verbiage sharing what we can do versus what we can’t!

The awesome part is that when we take the time to show our patients we truly care about them…they will trust and respect us enough to say YES and accept our care!

I hope you’ve learned some new tips for improving your practice care. If you would like to receive the white pages for Patient Communication Standards, please email me at and write Patient Communication Standards in the subject line.

Come see me at the Carestream Dental’s Global Oral Health Summit in November in Orlando, Fla. If you haven’t already registered for the Summit, I am pleased to offer you some incentive to do it today. Here’s $200 off your registration: Just enter BLOG when you register.

I can’t wait to see you at the Summit.

Judy Kay Mausolf


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