In physical therapy – and in all service industries – you can’t always please everyone. Even if you’re the best therapist you can be and you do everything to please your patients, there will be a few here and there that are difficult to handle.
There are many reasons that may cause a patient to be unhappy or combative. Perhaps they are in a lot of pain, or they aren’t seeing the results they hoped for. Sometimes it may be reasons beyond your control such as financial trouble, stress at work or family issues causing your patient unhappiness.
No matter what, you must do your best in every situation and give your patients the best experience possible. In the end, some will remain a challenge, but that’s OK! Here are a few ways to handle difficult physical therapy patients:
Get to the root of the problem
The most important thing you can do is talk it out with your difficult patient. When you’re having trouble with a patient or he/she seems unhappy, take the time to sit down and ask your patient some questions. Find out exactly why he/she is acting this way so you know if it’s a personal reason, or if you or a staff member have made him/her unhappy.
Find a solution
Once you know the cause of their dissatisfaction, you can identify a solution to the problem. If the patient has an issue with therapy or results, you can change up their treatment or offer more explanation as to why he/she must do certain exercises and what exactly to expect.
Keep in mind if the patient is facing issues outside of the clinic, there may not be much you can do to help. Still, be a good listener and offer a smile and sympathy when needed.
After your initial discussion with this patient, make sure you or your receptionist follow up with the patient at their next appointment or by phone. This will give you an opportunity to find out if the situation has improved, or if they’re still unhappy.
At a certain point, there’s not a solution for every difficult patient, and some will always be challenging. Just focus on doing the best you possibly can and holding the rest of your staff to the same high standard.
Patient experience is a huge contributor to your success and the growth of your business. If you can create loyal, raving fans of your practice, the rest is easy!
Click here to download this free tip sheet to learn how to improve patient experience and engagement!