What Patients Want #5: Connection and Respect

This is the fifth post in our series about what patients want, and this a big one! Connection.

There is an epidemic of loneliness in our country, especially amongst the elderly, stay-at-home parents with young children, the chronically ill and caregivers. Cigna conducted a big study earlier this year and found that loneliness was at epidemic levels with half of Americans reporting that they feel lonely.

No one wants to feel invisible, and sometimes just knowing one person took the time to reach out and care can have a huge impact. Patients want to feel seen and heard. Here are a few reminders:

  • See patients as people and not just their condition.
  • Pay attention to details. Pick up on cues. Are they cold? Do they need to use the restroom? Is a patient coughing and needs a drink of water? Is a child crying and needs a distraction?
  • Ask questions to engage them.
  • Smile and make eye contact.
  • Use their name and call them by name in conversation.  
  • Recognize milestones.
  • Document and remember things patients tell you so you can ask about those things at the next visit. This can be about family members, hobbies, jobs, accomplishments or big life events like a family wedding, reunion or significant birthday celebration.  
  • Write and send an unexpected note card.
  • Make a personal follow-up call to check on a patient the day after a difficult visit.

What are some of the ways your team fosters connections with your patients?