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How do I deal with a needy patient?

Some patients, especially the lonely and the elderly, may become overly attached to their caregiver.

Although in some cases part of the job description is to provide emotional support as well as medical support, you also have a job to do outside the room. So how do you take care of that job without being rude or hurting someone’s feelings?

The answer is – you don’t try to skirt the issue. Be completely honest with the patient about your other responsibilities. In a loving way, set limits at the outset and make the boundaries very clear that you will be there for them as much as you can but you must also fulfill your other duties.

While you’re in their room, intermingle your needy patient’s chatter with your work. When you first come in to check on the patient, ask about her concerns. Let the patient air her grievances while you administer care. Show in this way that you’re available to the provide the emotional support your patient needs in her fragile state. When you finish with her care, explain to the patient that you must leave to attend to others. Most patients will be understanding of your time limitations and appreciative of what you have to offer them.

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