How to Manage Patient Anxiety

Updated on July 11, 2022

Working within the healthcare industry, you will most likely already be familiar with the frequent occurrence of anxious patients and the extra level of difficulty that comes with assessing their health and providing their treatment. Whether you have been working in healthcare for many years or have only recently started, you can still benefit from taking a moment to think about the additional methods of communication and care that are sometimes required when a patient is extremely anxious. Not only will this relieve the patient’s worries but will also make your job easier.

Kinds of Patient Anxiety

There are a variety of anxieties that patients can face when seeking medical attention. Some are reluctant to visit a clinic due to a fear of something within a healthcare environment, such as needles or having their blood pressure measured. Some may be anxious as they believe that they might be seriously ill after researching their perceived symptoms online. Some patients may have an anxiety disorder that makes various aspects of life more difficult. Remember not to group all anxious patients into a single category as this could prevent you from offering them the reassurance that is right for them.

Understand the Cause

When you can understand the cause of a patient’s anxiety, you can better target their worries and draw attention away from them. Patients who are anxious to attend appointments, discuss health issues, or receive treatment may have had an unpleasant experience in the past that has left them feeling uncertain and cautious around medical situations. If you can identify that this is the case, ask if the patient has any specific questions and see if you can alleviate some of their concerns. Of course, the main task is to assess and treat any of the patient’s health issues, but this is much easier to do once you have helped them to relax.

Offer Information

When a patient is anxious, it can often be due to feeling a loss of control. One useful way to combat this is to offer as much information as you see fit so that the patient feels equipped to think about their healthcare independently. Recommend literature or online resources such as Enhanced Lifting where they can explore information about different kinds of treatments, supplements, and the human body without any additional fear around their own health. Curiosity can often alleviate stress. Of course, it’s important not to encourage patients to research their own symptoms as this often leads to unnecessary health anxiety.

Avoid Dismissive Treatment

For some medical practitioners, their instinct might be to ignore the patient’s anxieties in the hopes that they can carry on with the job at hand. However, this approach fails to acknowledge not only that the patient deserves empathy but also that the job of the medical practitioner is made much easier when the patient can relax even just a fraction. Learning to use a friendly and reassuring bedside manner is essential for anyone working in the medical industry.

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