Any surgical procedure is a daunting prospect for patients. If it’s the first time a patient is having surgery, it can be frightening as well. Anxious patients often have questions or concerns that need to be adequately addressed. Putting these patients at ease is essential to their recovery and ensuring their ASC experience is positive.
Create a Soothing Environment
There isn't much you can do to a surgical suite, but the waiting room and reception areas of your ASC can create a soothing environment for your patients before surgery. These areas should be less clinical and more inviting. Comfortable furniture, attractive art, soft lighting, and music that isn't intrusive or loud are features of a cozy waiting room. Provide recent reading materials and, where appropriate, access to water, coffee, or other beverages.
Explain COVID-19 Protocols
In the last 18 months, Covid-19 has dramatically ramped up patients' concerns over health and safety even when they simply visit their own doctor. When they walk into a surgery center, their anxiety can be overwhelming. Take the time to fully explain the precautions put in place at your ASC, the reasons behind them, and how they contribute to your patients’ health and safety.
Remove the Intimidation Factor
The ASC is an intimidating and sterile environment that contributes to fear of the surgical process. It's easy for staff to lose sight of patients' humanity while moving them through pre-and post-op routines. Keep in mind that while this is "routine" to you, this is a first-time or rare experience for many patients, and act accordingly. Address patients by name, reassure them if they seem nervous, and ask about their comfort.
Demeanor is also crucial to putting patients at ease. Talk in a low, pleasant voice and speak slowly and clearly. Rushing through an explanation or coming off as rushed and irritated can increase patients' anxiety. If you can, sit down to talk to them rather than standing over them. When it's appropriate, use physical touch to make a connection. This can be as simple as touching their hand and smiling before moving on to the next patient.
Answer Questions and Offer Explanations
Patients have questions, lots of them. Take the time to answer every question fully in a calm, reassuring voice. If you explain a procedure, ask if they have any other questions and understand everything. Never assume. As you perform tasks such as drawing blood or taking vitals, explain what you're doing and why.
Educate & Engage with Patients
One Medical Passport’s Engage software puts patients at ease by putting them more in control of their health and their surgical journey. Educational videos about their procedures, automated reminders, and customized guidance regarding medications all put patients more at ease prior to arriving at your ASC. Post-surgery instructions and follow-up inquiries reassure patients that the ASC is continuing to prioritize their recovery.
Patient tracking software ensures staff members can check on their patients at a glance no matter where they are located in your ASC facility. Quicker updates allow staff to respond to patient status changes and move them seamlessly through the surgical process. Smooth transitions and orderly care reassure patients that they are in good hands. Patients can relax, knowing that anyone they have in the waiting room is being kept abreast of their status.
Putting your patients at ease is a key factor in how well they recover and their perception of the surgical experience. Communication, compassion, and creating a reassuring atmosphere will improve outcomes and ensure that patients will recommend your facility to others.
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