How to Help Reduce Patient Anxiety

 Being in a healthcare environment can bring up a lot of negative emotions in both patients and their families. Even if it’s just a routine checkup, some people experience a lot of anxiety about nurses and doctors. Sometimes it is because of a negative experience in the past, other times it is because they suffer from anxiety disorders that may have no relation to the reasons they are visiting the hospital today.

Regardless of the cause, anxiety in patients can be a severe obstacle when you are trying to help them. If you are not always sure what you can do in a situation where a patient appears to be panicking, here are a few helpful tips.

1 - Give them space to talk

Fear and anxiety do not help people be eloquent. The patients themselves are well aware of that, which is why they likely spent the past few hours — or days — rehearsing what they were going to say to you when they got to your office. Except now that they are there, their heart is racing, and they can’t get the words out. They start to stutter, or just clam their mouth shut.

In such situations, the lack of control is often the most frustrating part for the patient. They may also start panicking over the fact that if they aren’t able to communicate properly you won’t be able to help them. Which in turn means that the appointment — with all its associated suffering — will be wasted. For both these reasons, it is very important to give the patient time to talk. Help them out too, repeat information after they said so they know you understood them clearly.
If talking is tough for your patient, consider questioning them instead. It may be easier for an anxious patient to answer with yes or no than put together a cohesive narrative. If nothing seems to work, give them a chance to get some water and try again in a few minutes. After it becomes clear that you won’t send them away without listening to their concerns, your patient will likely have a much easier time relaxing.

2 - Explain as much as you can

What seems obvious to you may not be obvious to a patient. Under normal circumstances, that’s ok. Patients can just follow orders and expect everything to be alright at the end. For anxious patients, however, uncertainty tends to enhance their concerns. Not knowing what to expect will make their anxiety much worse.
To make matters more complicated, your patient will likely not be in the right state of mind to ask you questions about everything. This is why you should volunteer as much information as possible when you are around anxious patients and family members. Tell them what is happening, has happened, and is likely to happen.

3 - Prepare yourself in advance

Anxiety can be a very powerful, very intense emotion. This may very well translate into you having to handle intense situations when dealing with anxious patients and family members. They may become angry, shout, panic, or even get emotional and break down crying.  So it’s good practice to ready yourself mentally before dealing with patients who you know to be particularly anxious. It will help you stay calm.

People who suffer from anxiety sometimes start taking CBD oil as a natural remedy to help them stay calm. If you haven’t read much about it, you might want to learn the difference between CBD and CBDA.
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