How to Best Initiate Patient Contact
Initiating Patient Contact
Any time it’s necessary to initiate contact with a patient, it’s important to follow certain protocols to keep there from being any sort of confusion or problems, anxiety on behalf of the patient, these sorts of things. If you just remember the following overview and steps, it will make things much more smooth. Whenever initiating patient contact, the first thing you want to do is check on the door for special precautions.
Does this particular person need additional care? Is there a precaution related to protective clothing? Things like this. Check the door first for any written notices about special precautions, special needs, things that you should be aware of before you actually even make any overtures to enter the room. Once you’ve checked that and fulfilled any of those precautions, next you should go ahead and knock.
It’s respectful. It’s polite. It announces your presence to the person. Once you’ve knocked, please ask permission to enter the room. This grants, once again, respect and honor to the person there. You obviously know that you have a right to be there. You work there, but it’s a kind gesture (“May I enter?”). Upon receiving permission, greet the person and give them your name and the reason that you’re there.
That way, there’s that personal contact of “this is who I am” and they’re told why you are there. Often, it can be disconcerting for a patient to be in a particular environment and not know who is doing what or why or what’s going on. You’ve established a rapport by being polite and entering. You’ve given your name and then you’ve told them why you’re there. All of that’s very important.
Occasionally, when you show up to do this there may be a physician or a member of the clergy present. It is entirely okay to proceed with whatever it is you have to do if the need is stat, (stat, of course being Latin for “statum”, meaning “immediate”.) If the need is immediate, don’t let the fact that there is a physician there or a member of the clergy there preventing you from doing what you need to do.
However, if what you are there to do does not require immediate attention, it may be polite for you to go ahead and wait just a couple of minutes while the physician finishes up or the member of the clergy has concluded their visit and then come back to visit and initiate contact with the patient. Finally, depending on what it is that you need to do, it may be entirely appropriate to ask the family to step outside briefly while you take care of whatever it is that needs to be taken care of.
Just taking that little extra time, once again, to read the precautionary information, so you’re prepared, knocking, asking permission to enter, once receiving permission giving your name and explaining why you’re there, and then, depending on the nature of what you’re doing, perhaps asking the family to step out. All of these are appropriate things when initiating contact.