How would you identify and deal with a patient that might have problems with reading and writing – and not embarrass them?
I have seen many patients embarrassed by a receptionist insisting that the “complete” the form in front of them.
TAIL TALE SIGNS OF SOMEONE THAT MIGHT HAVE PROBLEMS READING OR WRITING
- They will often become agitated or look uncomfortable when given a form to complete
- They might go very red in the face with embarrassment
- They will try to make an excuse ask if they can bring the form back at another time
- They might say they can not wait and will fill it in next time (when they can bring
someone back with them)
And the most often used excuse is:
They have left their glasses at home!
Many of the above could indicate that the person had problems completing the form. For whatever reason do not embarrass the person by insisting they complete the form.
If the form can be taken away and completed and brought back all well and good, but as I well know many of these forms never come back again. So I appreciate the importance of getting the forms completed there and then.
HOW DO YOU HANDLE IT?
If you have reason to believe that the person is having difficult completely the form you should
- Be very discreet
- Never ask the person if they have problems with reading and writing
- Never snatch the form back and say “give it to me”
- Offer to help complete the form
- Try and put them at ease – if they say they do not have their glasses just tell them that it is ok and that lots of patients do the same and you are more than happy to
help complete the form.
- Put the patient at ease by saying that it might be quicker for you to do the form
because you know what parts have to be filled in.
You will often find by showing kindness and not judging the person will in fact tell you
that they have problems in completing forms. If they do tell them its fine – and they we get many request for help with filling in forms.
Explain to them that you would be more than happy to help again, and that they should ask for you or another member of staff to help complete the next necessary form.
Ask the person if you want them to make a note of it on their patient notes – so in future they are not asked to complete a form again at the desk. Many are happy for you to do this. It also helps other team members know of their disability in not being able to read or write.
Every patient should be treated with respect at all times.