How do I deal with an unprepared patient?

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The familiar Boy Scout motto is “Be prepared.” Unfortunately, not everyone is as prepared as a Boy Scout when they show up at the doctor’s office. This can be frustrating to you, especially if you enjoy efficiency.

There are many scatter brained folks out there, and sometimes the best way to deal with these patients is to be overly prepared yourself.

Here’s how:

1. If a patient is finishing up with his or her visit, remind the patient what he/she will need to bring to the next visit or check up. You may even want to provide a checklist so the patient doesn’t have to rely solely on memory. In dealing with an elderly patient, his or her lack of preparedness may simply be due to some memory loss.

2. Ask the receptionist at your office to call the patient a few days before the appointment and remind the patient to bring his or her insurance card, referrals, etc.

3. Make sure your hospital or office’s Website clearly states what items the patient is expected to bring.

These suggestions might seem “outside the scope” of your nursing duties, but if the patient forgets his or her information, you may be the one dealing with the problem.  So talk to the administrator of your workplace and be prepared to nip this problem in the bud.

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