Please don’t blame the GP’s


 

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Sadly, GP’s have come into attack again in the UK from the press. The main complaint is that patients are waiting far too long for appointments, and I think we can all agree with this. Waiting times are far too long, BUT this is not the fault of the GP ‘s who are trying their best to keep their patients happy.

1 in 10 GP’s are seeing up to 60 patients a day many seeing 40 when realistically they should be seeing around 30.

People that think that GP’s are at fault for the lack of appointments they just simply don’t appreciate the work that goes into a day in the Surgery.

GP’s don’t just see patients, they have letters to write from patient consultations. They have results to chase up, prescriptions to check and sign, home visits to do, meetings to attend, various insurance forms to go through, and quite often this is done through their lunch breaks or staying after evening surgery to get it all done.

Managing the appointments system is usually tasked to the Practice Manager who will work closely with the GP’s and they are constantly looking for ways to improve on their current system for the good of their patients.

Every week every single surgery has many DNA (did not attend) appointments. Patients that have booked appointments simply don’t turn up or cancel them, despite many being send alerts via their phone which are easy to cancel.

Some surgeries offer appointments whereby patients’ phone first thing to get an appointment that same day. This doesn’t always work well for people that are working because getting time off at short notice is not always possible. While this system suits some patients, others complain that they cannot pre-book appointments. As well we know any appointment system will suit some and not others.

The knock-on effect of patients unable to access appointments at a time convenient to them just don’t realise the impact that it has on the whole team. It starts with the Receptionist who contrary to belief are there to help the patients and happy to do so. They don’t enjoy having to go through pages of appointments to then tell the patient that all the appointments have gone. Or to tell the patient that the next available one is 3 weeks away. Believe me the job is far more enjoyable when the Receptionist can actually offer the patient what they want.

Another thing that really annoys some patients is when the Receptionist asks what they want to see the doctor for. It’s not to be nosey. It’s certainly not to be difficult, its simply to see if another healthcare professional could see the patient instead of the doctor. Many larger Practices have ECP’s (Emergency Care practitioner) who can prescribe, Practice Nurses, District Nurses, HCA’s (Health Care Assistants), Paramedics, Phlebotomists. By asking what the appointment is needed for can often direct the patient to another healthcare who can help. This then allows patients that need to see a doctor having better access.

Many Surgeries are now open longer hours. As early as 7.30 in the morning and until 8.00 in the evening, and some are now opened for emergencies at weekends.

We are also very lucky that we have access to a doctor or healthcare professional 24/7 by phoning 111 or in an emergency 999 or going to A&E.

The press is saying that patients are saying that afternoon appointments can often find the doctor not as compassionate as they would be in the morning. In my experience this simply isn’t true. But ask yourself, if you were working 12 hours a day with no break, trying to you best to accommodate everyone that came in to see you that day, trying to keep everyone happy would you not be exhausted. Of course, you would, GP’s are human beings too, they are victims or stressful jobs, and they get tired like the rest of us.

Where I live they are in the process of building a new housing estate which will consist of 600 new homes. There are no allowances for these people wanting to register at a GP Practice. The local practice is already at breaking point, and yet the government will expect the people in these new homes to be registered somewhere. Who will suffer the most, the new patients because they might have to travel miles to register with a GP. The local surgery will suffer if they have to take on new patients, and then in turn the patients already registered at the practice will be waiting longer for appointments than before.

Patient demands are rising. Expeditions and behaviour from a minority of patient often leading to GP’s, Receptionists and other healthcare professionals exhausted at the end of the day- and then they have to face the very same the following day.

So, next time you have to wait weeks for an appointment, remember the Receptionist doesn’t take any delight in doing this and certainly the GP’s are not the cause of it.

Good Customer Service #Reviews #Praise


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Good customer serice is always vitally important to me and has been my passion in every job I have had.  No matter how small an act of kindness that is given, it will often mean an awful lot to the customer that is receiving it.

But, I also accept good customer service in return. Sadly, this doesn’t always happen and what is even sadder is that people are often ready to complain more than they give a compliment. If ever I receive exceptional customer service and someone goes over and above their role to make me feel that my issue has been resolved I will often email/tweet/or contact the company involved.

How would you feel if someone took the time to call you or your company to say how well you did your job and how thankful they were? I tell you the feeling is magnificent and will make you feel so good.

The same if you see or hear one of your staff members go over and above to ensure that a customer gets a good service, tell them. Share with them how impresses you were. It makes them feel so good.

So, I am going to praise good customer service on my blog. I will nominate one person or company each month and share with you why I felt they deserved the nomination.

So, to start the new year I am going to start with 3 companies that I have found to have had exceptional customer service, that has listened and resolved my issue.

These are in no particular order.

 imagesI recently had an issue with my iPad. I phoned our local store and was put through to the call centre. I had a lovely chap that gave me his name, and straightway took my telephone number in the event we got cut off he would be able to ring me straight back.

He took me through several different steps on my iPad trying to solve the problem assuring me all the time that he would do his best to solve the issue.

After about 20 minutes we had covered all areas that he felt would rectify the problem, and whilst doing so explained exactly what he was doing and why. He also gave me some tips along the way that could help in the future.

He gave me a case number and said if I was experiencing any problems relating to the issue to phone back quoting this number and the person dealing with it would be updated with what had already been done.

The call wasn’t ended until he knew that I was happy and understood that if I was not happy I could phone back at any time.

This hasn’t been the first time that I have had to contact Apple by phone, or go in person into the store and every single member of staff has always giving first class service. Well done Apple and a big thank you for the lovely staff that you have working for you. They are always friendly, take the time to deal with the issue and see it through and know your products inside out.

 

joules-logo-v2I had an issue with an item that was bought for me only last Christmas. I had hoped that this item would have lasted a bit longer that it did. I tweeted Joules saying I was gutted that my item had stopped being fit for purpose.

I got a very quick response asking me to DM them (direct message) and give more details and include my email address. I replied and within minutes got a reply saying that someone would reply to me via email.

I received a very friend email asking for some more details which I gave and the next day got a reply to say that a new replacement would be on its way that day.

This issue was all done via email, but you can still get vibes from how someone speaks to you and these responses were friendly, quick and to the point.

Well done Joules for your quick response via twitter and email and thank you for the suburb customer service. The whole issue took 4 days from the very first tweet to delivery.

utility-warehouse_finalWe moved into our house just over 2 years ago. It was a total renovation and we were up to our eyes in building work getting the house in order, along with getting all the utilities installed and up and working.

A good friend of mine recommended Utility Warehouse and what sounded appealing was they did most of the utilities we needed. Gas, Electricity, Internet, home phone, mobile phone data calls and texts all under one roof. It seemed to make life a lot easier.

We had a lovely rep out that went over a plan that would suit our needs. He also informed us of some loyalty benefits that we would be entitled to which was a lovely surprise.

So, we signed up and to date have not had any regrets.

For me what makes this company so different to other utility companies is their customer service. Every single time I have ever had the need to phone I have always been dealt with the most pleasant person at the other end of the telephone. They have always resolved the issue and had always made sure that I am happy before ending the call.

The “dread” of phoning a call centre is no longer there in the knowledge that if I do have to phone them I am confident that the issue will be resolved before the call is ended.

Well done Utility Warehouse, you have a great team working in your call centre who are knowledgeable and always extremely helpful and polite.

Have you experienced good customer service recently? If so please so share with us all.

 

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30 years service and not even a “thank you”


 

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I have a very good friend that has just completed 30 years’ service with the organization that she works with. There are not many employees that can actually say they have done that amount of years working for the same company.

I was saddened to hear that her place of work, or her immediate bosses failed to do anything to recognise all the years she has put in. Not even a card. For her it was just another normal working day. To say I was disappointed for her is an understatement.

I know how hard she works, going over and above her job description on many occasions to help the many people that she looks after, often working past her finishing time. She is the most obliging person, extremely likeable and very happy to do whatever she can to help someone else out. She is the type of person that I would definitely want working for me.

Her dedication and enthusiasm to help others is unbelievable.

Shame on her boss, and her organisation to let such an important day go by without some sort of appreciation.

What does your organisation do for long serving members of staff?

National Volunteers Week 1-7 June


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Today starts a week celebrating all volunteers across the country.

This week is also aimed at raising awareness about the benefits of becoming a volunteer. As well as helping others, Volunteering as been shown to have a positive impact on the lives of those who are volunteering. I know how volunteering helped me in way that I would never have imagined. It made me feel good that I was helping someone out. It gave me back my confidence and I went on to learn new skills that I never knew I had.

We had moved due to my husband’s job. I went from working full-time and having a very active social life to living in the country with no job. It wasn’t for me, I felt isolated and extremely lonely.

I looked into volunteering and found a local Resource Centre that were looking for volunteers to help at their older people’s club once a month. I would help make tea, help with the bingo and arrange the monthly raffle. We would encourage the group to participate in some country dancing. The people who came to the group were all elderly and some very isolated. For some it was the only time they got out. We would also go on a year’s trip away which consisted of 2 nights away in a lovely hotel with lots of activities organised by the group. If it were not for volunteers this group would not have survived.

From that group I then started volunteering with a disability group. The people in this group were amazing, to be part of such a happy and proactive group was a privilege. We also had many trips out and had some great laughs. Being part of this group, I got to know the people, discovering their personalities and looking right past their disability. If it were not for volunteers this group would not have survived.

I then was asked to be a member of the Board of Directors, something that I would never have thought I would have done. How honoured I was to be asked. Every single member on the board was a volunteer and gave up their time for the monthly meetings.

I then trained to be a facilitator for the Rainbow group that took place at the Centre. This was for children that was going through a family separation or bereavement. This for me this was volunteering at its best. To work with these amazing children through such tough times made me feel very humble. I certainly learnt a lot from these little ones. I then went on to train to become a Coordination for the Rainbows Group where I would be responsible for the group facilitator and the children. If it were not for volunteers this group would not have survived.

I was then asked to volunteer on the HR sub group at the Centre. I also became a member on the volunteers committee and helped to produce a booklet for the older people in the area with all useful information.If it were not for volunteers this group would not have survived.

Throughout the years volunteering I was very privileged to have attended numerous training sessions, workshops and open days. I helped organise various fun days, Christmas Fayre and education sessions. I took first aid courses, I took courses that came with a certificate at the end and none of these ever cost me any money – just my time. From every course and workshop, I always learnt something that I not only used in my time as a volunteer, but often in my own personal life.

I met some amazing people and it made me realise that volunteering actually did something for me. It gave me a purpose, to get out, to meet people, and knowing that my volunteering actually meant a lot to people.

The good thing about volunteering is you can choose to volunteer in an area that you are really interested in. You can often choose your hours, give as little of as many as you like. You make friends, learn new skills and for the gesture of your time can often mean so very much to someone.

Caring and Compassionate #BournemouthBirthCentre #MaternityUnit


I was honoured recently to be a birthing partner for someone having their baby in the Bournemouth Birth Centre. It was their second baby but their first time in Bournemouth.

What can I say but WOW what an amazing experience from the moment we walk in through the door to the after care and so much more.

The unit itself is truly marvellous. Its modern, with a welcoming Reception area, extremely friendly and spotlessly clean. You get a feeling of being welcomed and that feeling never went away.

The midwives and maternity healthcare assistants couldn’t have done anymore for us all. Myself and the dad to be was included in every part of the care throughout the stay.

The birthing room itself was large, well equipped, gentle music playing in the background and a birthing pool with its gentle lightening to the therapeutic aromatherapy oils gently whispering through the air. A fully equipped en-suite just made this room everything that could possibly be needed.

The little touches in the unit were amazing. Lovely names for each of the birthing suits.

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and each time a baby is born there is a place for them in Reception on a blue or pink lamb with the date of birth and the weight and apparently in a years’ time they will be sent this lovely memento to keep.

Whilst in the earlier stage of labour we took a slow walk around the lovely lake so beautifully landscaped in the grounds of the hospital. Certainly, a place of tranquil and beauty for patients and visitors to enjoy. It was early evening, it was quite as we watched the birds on the water, and the tiny rabbits playing in the grass. Seating all around for us to pause while another contraction took hold.

Lots of tea and coffee, laughs and hugs and the most amazing experience watching their baby son coming into the world. This is one experience that I will cherish forever and this was made possible by the very caring and compassionate members of staff.

The parents spent the night bonding together in the Birthing Centre with their new son the husband having his own bed for the night it really was like home from home.  The following morning, they welcomed their 2-year-old in to meet his new brother. It was so very relaxed and emotional. Family time just the four of them for the first time together.

The care didn’t end when they left the unit. They were encouraged to phone if they had any queries or worries, was told they could come back to the until if they felt the need and their midwife followed up with a phone all 3 days later to see how they were all doing. What a fantastic service.

I cannot praise the unit enough. I honestly don’t think they would have got any better treatment if they had paid privately. The whole experience was 5*. This indeed just shows how fantastic our NHS is and how extremely lucky and proud we are to have this wonderful hospital on our doorstep.

what a lovely start to a new life

Behind a Cancelled Appointment #Dentist


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Its happens to the best of us – most of us as a Receptionist will have at one time or another booked someone in with the wrong healthcare professional. But it’s how you deal with mistake, and the actions we take to ensure that:

  1. a) it doesn’t happen again and
  2. b) the patient is inconvenienced as little as possible, most important to remember it wasn’t their mistake they were booked in with the wrong person.

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A good friend of mine had this happen to her only last week. She was booked in with a wrong dentist at her Dental Practice – and here is the impact both emotionally and financially it had on her life due to a wrongly booked appointment.

Firstly, the patient has a phobia of the dentist, so to book an appointment in itself is a major ordeal for her. She was told at her last appointment that she needed to have a tooth extraction. The appointment was booked some 6 weeks away – 6 weeks of anxiety about the forthcoming appointment.

No one enjoys going to the dentist but to have a phobia is on another level and unless you understand this you have no idea the stress and anxiety it can cause the patient and those around them.

Her appointment was booked for 10 am last Monday morning. At 9.15 she received a call from the Practice tell her that she had been booked into the wrong dentist (she had been originally registered with the dentist she had mistakenly been booked in with – but because she had gone over a certain period of time without an appointment she had to re-register with the same Practice but was registered under another dentist) She was told that the dentist she was NOW registered with was fully booked for that day, and her previous dentist had refused to see her despite having the half hour appointment booked out.

The receptionist did apologise, and commented that she could hear how anxious the patient was at having the appointment cancelled. She was offered another appointment for the Wednesday at 8.30. She had to refuse this because she had children that she had to get to school and the dentist was a good few miles away from where they lived. She was then offered another appointment on the Friday morning at 10.00.

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Now this already had started causing the patient problems. Because of her phobia of the dentist her husband who is self-employed had to arrange to take time off from work to accompany her to the dentist. When he doesn’t work he doesn’t get paid. The patient also works 3 evenings a week, and Mondays were one of her nights to work.  Because she was going to have a tooth extraction it was suggested because of the type of work she does that she didn’t go into work that evening, so she had to arrange a swap with someone at her work. So, the cancelled appointment had already started to cause unnecessary problems as she now had to have another night off as the appointment was booked for the Friday which was another night she was scheduled to work.

She didn’t feel she could ask for another swap and she didn’t want to take this off as sickness as she prides herself on her exemplary sickness record and didn’t want to leave her work colleagues under pressure if she phoned in sick. She spoke to her boss and she had to take the night off as unpaid leave – another loss of earnings. Her husband had to also swap work around meaning that he was again losing more money on the Friday morning.

She arrived at the dentist, with her phobia now causing her concern she looked for reassurance from the dentist – which sadly she didn’t get. She was given the injection and asked to sit in the waiting room – the injection didn’t seem to take, so she was given a second and third injection before being told that it hadn’t taken and therefore the dentist couldn’t do the procedure. She was told she would have to be referred to the hospital to have the extraction done under a general anaesthetic and was told to expect to wait between 3-6 months. She really wanted to have this procedure done and dusted just to get it out-of-the-way and she certainly wasn’t keen on the thought of having a general anaesthetic, but understood why this would have to be done.

So, she was sent home, she had paid for the extraction that she didn’t have. On top of that now having to take a night off work without pay as well as her husband losing another half day’s wages. This tooth extraction that didn’t happen had now cost them both a lot of money.

10 minutes after leaving the dentist her mouth went completely numb and she couldn’t feel a thing, making her question if she could have indeed had the procedure done after all. She did feel that the dentist had certainly rushed through the appointment.

All of this causing annoyance and stress which could have been avoided if she had been put in with the right dentist when the appointment was being booked.

The importance of getting the appointment right is not only for the benefit of the Practice but also the benefit of the patient – you never know what is behind a cancelled appointment.

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Customer Service #LondonTransport


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My training often involves me travelling to London.

Growing up I lived on the outskirts of London and the underground was very much part of my life often travelling on my own at a young age. Fast forward a few decades and here I am once again using the underground as a way of getting to my destination.

I still find travelling on the tube kind of magical, I absolutely love people watching and amazed at the speed that the tube takes me to my destination, many times almost taking me to the door of where I need to go.

There are often many options of the routes that I can take and this gives me the option of travelling one way and back a completely different route.

When I am asked to host a training session it involves me having to do a lot of research before going. Planning my travel, choosing the best routes to take. Taking in account how many times I might have to change and go onto another line, to planning the distance from the tube to the organisation that I will be doing the training. Time management is vital for my job.

I love the fact that I can use my debit card on all the transport including buses, no worries about having to purchase different travel cards or standing in endless queues to purchase a train ticket. Having this system can often mean that I can alter my route at the last-minute (often to pop off and do a bit of retail therapy!)

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But what I have found every single time that I have travelled on the underground over the past couple of years is the brilliant customer service that the London Transport staff have shown. Every single time I have had a question be it for the best route to take or simply asking what platform I need to go to. Every single member of staff has always given me clear easy to follow instructions, every single member of staff have always been polite, friendly and always have had a smile on their face. Not only has their knowledge of the underground been incredible their local knowledge outside of their station is also exceptional.

I am useless at following maps and often when you come out of the underground there are several exits from the station which can at times be very confusing. I have often asked a member of staff for directions to a certain point, or even a Road by name and every single one of them has always given me good clear instructions. This has made my journey so very stress free.

Thank you London Transport your staff are a credit to an amazing service that you give to us all, and they can often make what could be a stressful journey a lot easier just by being the kind helpful people that they are.

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Working Together #NHS #111 #A&E #GPSurgeries


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Sadly, as most of you are all aware there is a lot of negative publicity in the press at the moment about our great NHS service and sadly some of it with good reason.

It saddens me to read some of the dreadful reports about patient care and those working for the NHS being abused and often overworked. Working for the NHS and being a patient I can see a lot of this from both sides.

Doctors surgeries are busting at the seams with patients struggling to get appointments. Practices are merging together but are they able to continue to offer the service they did before?

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The Ambulance service is stretched and A&E are struggling to find beds resulting people being treated in corridors, whilst Ambulance crews are held up in the car parks with patients on board waiting to be seen and treated, often resulting in the ambulance crew not being available to go to the next emergency.

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Sadly, there are still the time wasters and abusers of the service. Those that call that emergency ambulance when all they needed was a GP appointment, the hoax callers that can tie up the emergency services for hours before they finally find that there was no “emergency” to those that present at A&E for minor ailments. Working in the past in A&E it never ceased to amaze me just what people would present with at A&E with. (I have written other blog stories when I worked in A&E)

As a Manager working in the NHS it’s a hard job. Struggling on a daily basis, trying to hit targets, wanting to give best patient care is almost impossible, dealing with staff that are forever under pressure on the front line and answering to stressful those who need to be obeyed.

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As a Receptionist, you will never please everyone, and many will be sure to be vocal and let you know how unhappy they are and often blame you for the “awful service”.  Telephones ringing constantly, people demanding urgent appointments that you just haven’t got, GP’s and Managers constantly asking the impossible from you, and all while you are working for barely more than the minimum wage.

Hearing from friends, updates on social media and press reports everyone is struggling to be seen resulting in people misusing the NHS because they had no alternative.

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A friend recently phoned 111 (for my overseas readers this is an out of hours service which covers GP surgeries when they are closed – an excellent service which gives patients 24/7 cover). My friend felt very unwell, sore throat, temperature and generally feeling very unwell. She spoke to somewhere at the 111 Service, for whatever reason the 111-service suggested she took paracetamol and phone her GP surgery the following morning. She had a bad night and phoned her GP Surgery first thing the following morning. Her surgery was unable to offer her an appointment and she explained how ill she felt, she was than advised if she continued to feel unwell to take herself off to A&E – as ill as she felt she would have never done this but many might have acted on this advice. She left it another 24 hours and phoned the surgery again where she was given an appointment for that day where she was given Antibiotic and Steroids for a chest infection.

My husband was recently poorly at a weekend, as thought he had a nasty chest infection. I phoned to see if we could get an appointment at a local Treatment Centre (the out of hours service where you can see a GP). After giving the operator all his symptoms (he was breathless due to the cold/chest infection) the operator said they she recommended that they send an ambulance out to him. The protocol said that if the patient was breathless or had breathing problems that an ambulance should be sent. There was no way that he needed an ambulance, he could have actually driven himself to the Treatment Centre, he was ill but not that ill, and even if he was I could have driven him there.

I believe that both of the above where 2 incidents where the emergency services (A&E and an ambulance) were not needed. I know that people have protocols to follow but in these two instances the patients could just have been seen and treated by a GP.

Do we need to look at the bigger picture, to look as how we can signpost people in the right direction, to ensure that people who need A&E are seen, and those that can see a GP do so? We have a great NHS, we can see a GP free, we have GP cover 24/7 and at a last resort we have a great emergency service in the ambulance service and A&E. It’s important that everyone needs to see those that are appropriate to them. Is there anything that we can do together to ensure that this happens most of the time?

I would be very interested to hear from my many overseas followers on how their GP Practice work. How does your routine appointment system work and when patients request emergency appointments what is your practice policy and does you’re A&E Departments get clogged up with people who don’t need to be there?

 

© 2011-2018 Reception Training all rights reserved

Dealing with the Bereaved #caring


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It’s been a tough couple of months. 2 very close friends have lost loved ones and 2 family members have died. 2 of them young woman in their 50’s losing their life to that horrendously awful disease CANCER. Every single one of them leaving behind broken-hearted family and friends.

I have shared their journeys through the caring for their loved ones and it saddens me to hear that they had many battles along the way. Getting much-needed appointments, lack of communication between different organisations and sadly just not enough resources in the NHS to assist them in their caring. But also, the many different positive stories they shared about the many different GP, hospital staff and voluntary organisations that often helped make the day that bit better for their professionalism and caring natures.

Often when someone is ill, especially terminally life is very hard on the people caring for them. They often have very little support or no support at all. One of the carers had to give up their job to care for their wife so he could accompany her to the many appointments for chemotherapy and radiotherapy and to the many visits to A&E and the GP. They had to be the “strong ones” Every single bit of help for them (the carer) goes a very long way in their fight to give their loved one the best possible care that they can………………but they need support from so many other organisations to be able to do this.

The carers often get worn down, quickly feeling low or even getting depressed and often face financial difficulties. Who cares for the patient if the cater gets ill?

Attitude, communication, empathy, time, and listening skills don’t cost a lot but can be invaluable to the carer – and the patient.

If you are aware of such a carer needing a doctor’s appointment please communicate, have empathy and use your listening skills. Try and accommodate an appointment that will allow them to fit in around the caring that they are doing.  They might find a telephone consultation easier. Some carers are worn down by the sheer volume of the day-to-day caring and fighting for their loved one. When it comes to them seeking attention for themselves they just don’t have the fight in them anymore. You need to be their “fight” When someone is watching their loved one suffering in pain, they don’t need any extra pressure.

When I was a Receptionist I was often faced with terminally ill patients. People that were caring for loved ones with terminal illnesses and often them needed to be treated as a patient due to the stress of being a carer.

I still remember the first time I dealt with a family member who had just lost their loved one to cancer. They came into the surgery to collect the death certificate. This was the first time that I had ever come face to face with someone who had just had a death in their family. I was lost for words. I didn’t know what to say, so I said nothing and I felt bad for this afterwards. I just didn’t know what to say. I didn’t want to upset the person.

I also was “surprised” at how some people behaved when then had just lost a loved one. Some would appear to be “happy” even cracking jokes, some would come in and were obviously very upset, some would come in and wanting to blame someone for the death of their loved one, others would just act as if nothing had happened.

I had the opportunity to go on a bereavement training session and this explained so much to me. It taught me why people react to death in many different ways.

The training explained the different emotions that people might be going through immediately after the death.

Shock: It may take you a long time to grasp what has happened. The shock can make you numb, and some people at first carry on as if nothing has happened. It is hard to believe that someone important is not coming back. Many people feel disoriented – as if they have lost their place and purpose in life or are living in a different world.

Pain: Feelings of pain and distress following bereavement can be overwhelming and very frightening.

Anger: Sometimes bereaved people can feel angry. This anger is a completely natural emotion, typical of the grieving process. Death can seem cruel and unfair, especially when you feel someone has died before their time or when you had plans for the future together. We may also feel angry towards the person who has died, or angry at ourselves for things we did or didn’t do or say to the person before their death.

Guilt: Guilt is another common reaction. People who have been bereaved of someone close often say they feel directly or indirectly to blame for the person’s death. You may also feel guilt if you had a difficult or confusing relationship with the person who has died, or if you feel you didn’t do enough to help them when they were alive.

Depression: Many bereaved people experience feelings of depression following the death of someone close. Life can feel like it no longer holds any meaning and some people say they too want to die.

Longing: Thinking you are hearing or seeing someone who has died is a common experience and can happen when you least expect it. You may find that you can’t stop thinking about the events leading up to the death. “Seeing” the person who has died and hearing their voice can happen because the brain is trying to process the death and acknowledge the finality of it.

Other people’s reactions: One of the hardest things to face when we are bereaved is the way other people react to us. They often do not know what to say or how to respond to our loss. Because they don’t know what to say or are worried about saying the wrong thing, people can avoid those who have lost someone. This is hard for us because we may well want to talk about the person who has died. It can become especially hard as time goes on and other people’s memories of the person who has died fade.

The training was excellent and I would really recommend if such a training course becomes available. I understood and was able to deal with bereavement a lot better. I was also able to communicate better, had empathy and my listening skills often came into good use.  I felt I made a difference. I was more confident to talk to people and ask how they were coping and make sure that I did everything in my power to make their visit to the Surgery went as smoothly as possible.

People often appreciated this, and would often say that I would be the first person that day that had acknowledge their loss.

Being recently bereaved can often be a very lonely place.

When I was a manager I instigated a Special Needs Board – this was extremely helpful to Reception staff when it came to identify patients that had just died or were terminally ill.

See blog post:      Special Needs Board http://t.co/wnWKmxHV

As a Receptionist, its important how you react to someone who has just had a bereavement. Knowing that this person might have needs (especially if they are a patient) and how you can make such a great impact on them.

How you treat them can give a lasting impression. Make it a good impression and not a bad one.