Patient criticised on Facebook #confidentiality


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We often talk about confidentiality in Receptionist meetings and the backlash that it can cause by discussing other people on social media sites. Even worse if it is linked to your job when you have signed a confidentiality agreement.

Another headline to hit the paper only the other day was

“Hospital apology after doctor criticised motorbike victim on Facebook.”

A doctor who attended a fatal accident wrote a post on her Facebook page stating she had been the first medic on the scene and the accident was gory and had the most horrific outcome.

She went on to say that the motorcyclist was not wearing a crash helmet, saying that they are not a fashion statement and they are worn because they save lives.

The family of the motorcyclist was quite right by being deeply hurt by her post and the hospital where she works has had apologised for her Facebook post.

She never mentioned the motorcyclist by name, but there are many other ways that you can identify a person other than by name.

She is more than likely a very good doctor, and was more than likely extremely upset by the accident and the sad loss of a young persons life. But she should have never put this on her Facebook page.

It’s a shame that her job could be in jeopardy but a lesson to us all. When it comes to anything to do with work, think before you post it on any social media site.

Your opinion could be very offensive to someone.

 

© 2011-2017 Reception Training all rights reserved

 

 

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Happy Patients #guestpost


imagesCAUP3U1DThe guest post today is from someone I don’t personally know, but with her permission I would like to share it with you, and to stress how important it is to keep patients informed when the Doctor or Nurse is running late. Quite often patients are not annoyed at the delay in their appointments, it the “not knowing and lack of communication” that can quite often bring on frustration and anger.

By informing the patients that there is a delay you are taking away a possible frustrated patient coming to the desk demanding to know what is happening when their appoitment times has come and gone – it then too late the damage is  already done – the patient is angry and you as the Receptionist is more than likely to get the brunt of it.

Guest post:

“I had a Hospital apt today at Aintree Hospital here in Liverpool mum came with me, the clinic was running late. Billy the senior HCA was rushing around everywhere making sure everyone was ok and informed us all of the delay “no wonder he’s so thin he never stands still” mum commented. We went through from 1 waiting room to another and was again informed of the delay that there were 3 doctors on and were doing their best. Around 10 minutes later mum started nattering to the lady sat next to her, the lady said “there is a delay my apt was at 10:30am” mum “it is what it is, where would we be without our NHS”. No amount of waiting time is a problem for me or my mum if it means we keep our NHS, I am NHS staff myself and I love our care system its the best in the world and we should all fight to keep it. The poor doctor I saw had a packet of biscuits on his desk to keep him going, clearly working through his lunch”

 

I have previously written a post on keeping patients informed:

When The Doctor/Nurse is running late. http://t.co/Tlnpi4OD

 

New Year, New Beginnings


Happy New Year.

January is usually a bit flat after Christmas, but not for me this year.

I had a great weekend, stayed with a good fiend whist facilitating a great training session in London. The team was fantastic made me feel so very welcome and interacted so well. Just love my job when I see results like I did this weekend. I hope that I continue to have great training sessions throughout this year.

We are also eagerly waiting the arrival of a baby boy to the family. He is determined to keep us waiting as his due date is today and is showing no signs of arriving any times soon. But like all babies he will arrive all in his own good time.

This baby is certainly a much wanted baby as his mummy and daddy have waited 6 long years for him, going through a failed IVF last year before falling naturally the month after.

I never realised the hard long hard struggle IVF was on a couple – each successful stage in the IVF a victory and a goal nearer to the next stage. 3 long months of injections, hormones going through the roof, sickness and anticipation. Hearing friends on a IVF group being unsuccessful only adding to the worry.

She went through every stage with flying colours, lots of healthy embryos collected and one successfully put back in. All they had to get through was the next week, a week to see if they had a positive pregnancy result. Why wouldn’t they? After all she had got through every stage with great results. Then the dreaded bleed came. People tried to reassure her that this can happen in pregnancy, but sadly it wasn’t to be – the IVF had failed. They were another IVF statistic.

They were devastated as you can imagine. They were told that they would have to wait 3 long months until they could have their 2nd round of IVF – an eternity to them.

They booked a holiday to try to get over the disappointment whilst knowing what they were going to face in round 2.

Then 4 weeks 6 weeks later – the unbelievable happened – they found out they were pregnant – naturally.

They are one of the “lucky ones” albeit they waited 6 years, some of their friends have been waiting a lot longer, and more have gone through several unsuccessful cycles of IVF

Our new mummy suffered really bad morning sickness, and several bouts of urine infections all of what was a worry to them – the fear of losing the baby never left their minds.

Sadly she has at times found her Doctors Receptionists really unhelpful when asking for advice. Appointments days away, and misunderstandings resulted is urine infections waiting all weekend before being treated.

Whilst no one should expect “special treatment” it is always good to remember the road that these people go down when facing fertility treatment is a long and hard one – sometimes they just need a bit of empathy.

 

© 2011-2017 Reception Training all rights reserved

Phoning a Patient at Home


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Does your Practice have guidelines on phoning patients at home? We all know of the obvious one and that’s not to leave a message of any kind on a landline because of confidentiality.

But when is it a good time to phone when you need to speak to a patient? Perhaps it’s relaying on a message from the Doctor or Nurse, or just to let them know there is a prescription to collect due to recent tests coming in.

I will give you an example on how consideration should be made when phoning a patient at home.

Someone close to me has for the past 6 years been trying for a baby without any success. The couple have been through many hospital and doctors visits, pregnancy results and alternative treatment to try help them achieve a pregnancy. They finally went through IVF earlier in the year with the daily injections, hormone changes and finally the heart-breaking news that it hadn’t worked. They set their sights on more IVF in 3 months’ time. An eternity to them both. But to all our surprise and delight a month after the failed IVF they fell pregnant naturally.

Fast follow to her being 6 months pregnant. She hadn’t had an easy time, morning sickness and fatigue hit with a vengeance, she also has an over active thyroid that needs monitoring throughout the pregnancy and she also found out that she was rhesus negative blood type and tests would have to be done when the baby was born to see if she needed an anti D injection but the delight of finally being pregnancy got them through all of these hiccups.

Her symptoms were getting worse and she was feeling poorly with no energy she seen the doctor and bloods were sent off to check for her iron levels.

So last Wednesday morning she was in bed. It was 7.55 and the telephone rang downstairs. They have elderly relatives and she immediately worried something was up. No on every phones at that time unless its urgent she thought.

She rushed out of bed, rang down the stairs and as she picked up the phone it stopped. She waited for a message but then her mobile started ringing upstairs – she panicked as someone was trying to get hold of her.

As she ran upstairs to get to the phone she tripped on the stairs and fell. In the panic she got up and answered the telephone to find it was her Doctors Receptionist telephoning to say that there was a prescription in reception for her to pick up for iron tablets.

As you can imagine she was upset as the fall. As the day went on she couldn’t feel much movement from the baby and this caused her a lot of distress, until she finally telephoned her midwife to asked her to come straight into the maternity hospital to check the baby and to have an anti D injection.

So, did the Receptionist really need to phone at 7.55 in the morning? I don’t think so. This telephoned caused a lot of unnecessary worry and inconvenience not to say how awful it could have been – but we wont do there! And not to mention how bad the Receptionist would have felt had she had known about the fall.

There should always be a guideline for people being telephoned at home unless it is urgent of course. 7.55 is far too early, what if it had been an elderly or disabled person doing the same thing? A fall could have been a disaster for them.

When training staff I always told them unless urgent no patient should be telephoned at home before 9.00 and if possible leave it until around 10.00.

More and more surgeries are opening up earlier than every before, so perhaps guidelines should be set to what time Receptionists can start to phone patients.

© 2011-2017 Reception Training all rights reserved

 

From a Patients Point of View #Guest Blog #Dr’s Receptionists #Empathy #Ireland


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My guest posts are becoming very popular and it is nice to read how important patient care is to the patient from their point of view, and reading about their experiences in difference countries.

This post has come from Ireland and the experiences the writer has found when dealing with Dr’s Receptionists.

The most important thing we should remember that as a Dr’s Receptionist our actions do impact of people’s life, and we can leave lasting impressions – we what are in control of is that the patient is left with the right impression.

Some of the feedback from this post included:

–  intimated by the receptionists I have to deal with 

–  Seemed cold and hard

–   wishing for is someone to show a little bit of empathy 

–   one receptionist who was the most amazing woman I came across 

–  really cared about the patient’s 

–  All we ask is that someone understand our position too.

Thank you A for your contribution to my blog…….

Guest post………….

About 5 years ago I was diagnosed with Benign Intracranial Hypertension and chronic migraine. It was a long road to get diagnosed and then an even longer road to get treatment and eventually to be able to live a somewhat normal life. As you can imagine I dealt with many different doctors including neurologists, surgeons, migraine specialists, pain specialists, ophthalmologists and physiotherapists. That’s a lot of doctors and departments which in turn means a lot of doctors receptionists.

When I was first diagnosed I was if I am honest a little intimated by the receptionists I have to deal with. They all seemed so cold and hard and when you are in as much pain as I was all the time then the one thing you are wishing for is someone to show a little bit of empathy, a little bit of emotion and maybe even a little bit of care. It seems that all they do is try to block you from getting the treatment you need.

However there is one receptionist who to me was and still is the most amazing woman I came across through all this. She was the receptionist for the migraine specialist in Beaumont. From the outset it seemed she actually really cared about the patients and would ask you how you were if you called or would have a chat with you when you went for an appointment.

I had just been discharged from hospital a week when I began to have extreme pain. Now I was very good at managing my pain and would only really call the hospital if I really needed to. This was one of those times. I always tried to bypass the receptionists because I knew I would get nowhere with them. This day however I failed to do that and got transferred to the receptionist. I explained the situation and by the end of the explanation I was in tears. To my utter shock, she put me in for an appointment the following day. This was completely unheard of in Beaumont. It turned out the pressure in my head was really high and if she hadn’t given me that appointment, I could have been in serious trouble.

From a patient’s point of view, a doctor’s receptionist is like the gate-keeper. The problem is when you have been in so much pain for so long and all you want is someone to help you, it can be tough to understand the harshness with which some receptionist treat you.

I can also understand the receptionist’s position; it’s a tough job having that much responsibility put on you. All we ask is that you understand our position too. We need help and you are the first person who can give it to us

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thank you and this just highlights what was said “from a patents point of view, a Doctor’s receptionist is like the gate keeper” how very true this is.

As a Receptionist how would you like to be remembered?

First Impressions #Patients Experience at Registering at a New Surgery #Guest Post


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I would like to thank my guest post for sharing her experience when registering with a new Surgery. Whist I am sure that not all surgeries are like this, it just highlights the importance of first impressions. Did you know that people make a decision about the people they meet within seconds of meeting them?

 You never get a second change to make a good first impression.

Guest Post:

First Impressions:

We have just moved to a new area and one of the things on my to-do list was register the family with a local doctor.

I went round one afternoon and told the receptionist I was new to the area and asked if I could register my family with the practice. The Receptionist behind the desk asked me for my address (I’m assuming to see if I was in the vicinity of the practice) and once I explained where we were living she handed me a bunch of forms to be filled out, so and off I went.

A few days later, armed with my filled out forms I went back to the surgery. I had a few queries for some of the questions because we have just moved back to the Country after being away for nearly 8 years so I left them blank so I could ask the receptionist.

When I arrived the surgery it was really busy – not only in the waiting room but there was a large queue forming behind me waiting for the front desk.

There appeared to be only one receptionist on and it seemed she was busy and  appeared ‘flustered’ at dealing with everything and everyone.

When it was my turn I approached the desk and explained I had my registration forms and I had a few queries if she didn’t mind helping me with.

 I can’t say the receptionist was very warm towards helping me, she asked me what the problem was and was very abrupt with her answers – I got the feeling she didn’t quite understand what I was asking so all of a sudden she just picked up the phone, dialed a number and handed me the phone saying “Speak to them and explain, they might come down.

Firstly speak to who? I was not given a name of the person I was about to speak to or the department they were in. Secondly, could I not have been taken to a quieter area around to the side of the reception desk which was away from the main queue of people (it’s quite a large semi-circle desk) I could have then spoken to the person on the other end in privacy. 

When I was speaking to the Receptionist I had my back to the queue of people behind me and therefore had a certain amount of privacy, but now while I was on the phone I found myself going through my private affairs in front of a queue of people and a waiting room full of others.

Whilst I was waiting on someone answering the phone the receptionist started dealing with a lady who was stood right next to me discussing her blood test & what she needed it for? Did that lady realise I could hear her business?

A lady answered the phone with a simple “Yes”. I was taken aback a bit at first as The Receptionist on the front desk didn’t tell me who she was putting me through to and the person answering the telephone didn’t give their name when she answered the phone.

The lady on the end of the phone was every it as abrupt as the receptionist to be honest – answered in short sharp answers and I was made to feel like I was bothering her.

I finally found out the answers I needed so I could go ahead and fill in the gaps on my forms.

A few days later I telephoned the surgery to make a routine appointment for an injection I have every few months and this time I was relieved to have a polite, friendly receptionist on the other end of the phone – she explained she would need a doctor to call with regards to my appointment and booked me in for a telephone consultation five days later between 10 & 10.30am.

I’m afraid it came to no surprise when five days later the call didn’t happen when it should have. I had almost given up hope of getting one at all, when the doctor called at around 12.30.

So I have to admit my first impressions so far haven’t been very good. I have since been speaking to a few local people and they all say what a good surgery it is, so I hope from here on in I find the same.

First impressions to me are important – they are the moments that are most likely to stick in your mind … whether they’re good or bad.

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Thank you for sharing your story, and I hope that this perhaps might have been a one-off and you go on to have a better experience. 

I have written a post that you might find helpful on the importance of informing New Patients of your Surgery protocols:

Registering A New Patient http://wp.me/p1zPRQ-9K

Disability Awareness #Receptionists Training


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Staff training is important not only for the Receptionist but for the patient too. Trained staff are confident staff and therefore can often handle difficult situations in the Reception area.

When we talk about staff training we automatically think of

       Telephone Skills

       Patient Confidentiality

       Dealing with Difficult Situations

       Reception Etiquette

But how many Practices offer Disability Awareness Training for their Reception staff?

The attitudes of staff are crucial in ensuring that the needs of disabled people are met.

There are many types of disabilities, and can affect a person’s:

  •        Vision
  •        Movement
  •        Thinking
  •        Remembering
  •        Learning
  •        Communicating
  •        Hearing
  •        Mental Health
  •        Social Relationships

Are you staff prepared if a wheelchair user needs assistance or if a patient has a visual impairment and needs help? It is important that Receptionists understand the needs of your patients that have a disability. And of course there are the hidden disabilities that we need to be made aware of too.

Disability Awareness Training will help your staff:

  •        Understand the barriers faced by people with disabilities
  •        To help identify when accessibility is important
  •        Explore their own attitude towards disability and accessibility
  •        Define the medical and social model of disability
  •        Identify barriers people with disabilities face and how to remove those barriers
  •        Develop an awareness within the team
  •        Be aware and be able to use appropriate language and body language in relation to a person with a disability
  •        Feel more confident in their role

Disabilities can include

  •        Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder
  •        Autism
  •        Brain Injury
  •        Hearing Loss and Deafness
  •        Intellectual Disability
  •        Learning Disability
  •        Memory Loss
  •        Mental Illness
  •        Physical Disability
  •        Speech and Language Disorders
  •        Vision Loss and Blindness

and not forgetting

Temporary Disabilities, which can include:

  •        Sporting injuries
  •        People with broken bones
  •        People recovering from an operation
  •        Pregnant Woman
  •        People with Severe back pain
  •        People with young children / pushchairs (in the event of an emergency they may require assistance)

These people and people with permanent disabilities are important when it comes to evacuating the building in the case of an emergency. Are you staff trained in emergency evacuation and assisting people with a disability in such an event?

When someone speaks of a disabled person do you automatically think ………….Wheelchair? Actually wheelchair users only account for 6% of that figure. There are so many disabilities that we cannot actually see. Some disabilities you can see and some you can’t.

The Hidden Disability

Whilst it is very easy identify someone in a wheelchair, be it a guide dog or walking aid, or someone who has aids in their ears, it is the hidden disability that can often go unnoticed.

People today still have problems with reading and writing; I came across this several times when I was working in Reception. 99% of the patients would not own up to this, it was simple observation on my part that identify this and in turn I was able to help the patient without too much of a fuss drawn to them.

It is important when patients object to filling out forms at the front desk that you do not “insist” it simply might be that they cannot read or write.

Often the excuses they use when asked to complete a form is “oh I have left my glasses at home” or I am in a hurry can I take it away and bring it back later” and even “I am not sure of the information I will need to go home and find this out and bring it back later” to which some will but many will not return the forms. People that have problems reading and writing do feel intimidated if the Receptionist insists as they quite often have to “own up” to their disability often causing embarrassment to them and the Receptionist.

Knowing the signs the Receptionist will be able to deal with the situation in such a way that the patient is unaware of the Receptionists suspicions. Offering to help fill out the form in a quiet area is often met with such a relief from the patient. They are more than happy to let the Receptionist help. Again, if the Receptionist suspects that the patient might have problems with reading and writing she can offer to help the patient in the future. Trust is built up between the patient and the Receptionist and quite often the patient will confide in the Receptionist of their disability.

It is important that staff have an understanding of different disabilities, and how best to help them.

Often speakers from different Disability organisations will only be too happy to come into your organisation and speak to staff, highlighting areas that will benefit the patients and the Receptionists.

Sending staff on external training courses is also an option, you could send one member of staff and they could come back and train other Receptionists, or you could send different staff to different courses therefore getting a mix of knowledge in the Reception area. All of which will greatly benefit the patients and the Receptionists.

Disabled people go to school, work, form relationships, do their washing, eat, get angry, pay taxes, laugh, try, have prejudices, vote, plan and dream like anyone else.

Whilst the disability is an integral part of who they are, it alone does not define them, do not label them.

Treat them as individuals.

 

© 2011-2017 Reception Training all rights reserved