When a patient visits your medical practice, they will likely be more than a little nervous, especially if they are concerned about any health conditions that they are experiencing. Even a routine physical exam can be nerve-wracking as the patient’s mind might be full of “what ifs” as they are waiting to enter the doctor’s office.
Thankfully, there are ways to ease a patient’s anxiety and you can do this from the minute they walk through the door. Keep reading to learn more and then put in place anything that will support the needs of your anxious patients.
- Offer a friendly welcome
A patient’s anxiety will heighten if your reception staff are grumpy and impatient so make sure your employees are warm and friendly towards every patient that uses your medical practice.
Sometimes, a smile from another can be enough to reduce anxiety but if the patient is still nervous, your reception staff could offer a cup of tea or a little bit of friendly chatter to distract them from their nerves.
If you notice your reception staff appear unfriendly, it might be because they are overworked. Talk to them to discover the reasons for their unfriendliness and if they are overly stressed, try to ease their workload if you can. If they’re unfriendly for no apparent good reason, a gentle word might be needed to remind them of their duty of care to the practice patients.
- Create a calming waiting room
Furniture that has seen better days won’t do much to calm an anxious patient. And neither will seats that are packed too closely together, especially in these post-COVID times.
So, purchase better (and more comfortable) seats if the current chairs are in need of repair and rearrange the waiting room so your patients aren’t crammed side-by-side next to one another.
You could also…
- Choose the best lobby waiting room music for anxious patients so those who are nervous have something calming to listen to while they are waiting
- Paint the walls in calming tones, such as green, blue and lavender
- Hang up artwork that contains natural scenes, such as countryside views and shorelines, instead of abstract paintings that could heighten a patient’s anxiety
- Add a window or two to let more light in as natural light is far more soothing than the glaring white light of artificial lighting.
- Provide distractions
When the patient is distracted from their worries, they will be less likely to experience anxiety symptoms.
Distractions can include a fish tank, which will be tranquil to look at for those in the waiting room, as well as reading materials that are up-to-date and easy to read.
Offer free wi-fi too so your patients can connect to their smartphones. This way, they can distract themselves with games on their phone and have conversations with loved ones on social media.
Don’t add to the stress levels of your patients! Instead, use these calming strategies and consider what else you might do to ease their anxieties.
By helping your patients stay calm, they will be less likely to experience symptoms of ill health that have been caused by too much worry!