Here are ten little ways to show your patients that you have their best interests at heart. These are easy and quick things to do, but they can build trust. When your patients trust you, they are more likely to comply with your instructions and return for treatments.
– Call: Call or leave a message for your patient when they’ve missed their appointment and let them know it’s ok, and that you hope everything is all right. Offer another opening to them that same day or in the near future.
– Remember: Keep in mind things your patients tell you, such as their appointment for an x-ray, their child’s birthday party, or their decision to start drinking green tea regularly. Everyone appreciates being considered as an individual, rather than just being a patient.
– Ear Beads: Patients love ear beads because they don’t hurt and they work. It is a simple way to increase the effectiveness of the treatment you’ve just given them, and it helps them to feel cared for. Beads are also a good advertisement for TCM. Order your own supply to carry with you. Some types are better than others, and last a week even in the shower.
– Know Your Herbs: It is exciting to patients to hear about the various herbs, especially common plants , such as honeysuckle or dandelion. Most patients like to know as much as you can tell them about TCM formulas.
– Warm Up: If you have a patient who is deficient, have a heat lamp warmed up in their room in time for their appointment.
– Sized Right: If your patient needs a large gown, grab one at the start of your shift. They will appreciate the thoughtfulness. I know of two women from my office who stopped getting acupuncture because they were embarrassed about not fitting into the small gowns.
– Explain Yourself: Go through the treatment you give your patient each time, even if it’s only to say you’re going to give them the same needle prescription as last time. If you are going to use a new point, explain why. We all like to be informed about what is going to happen to our bodies, and patients appreciate evidence that you are paying attention to their changing conditions.
– Course of Treatment: With a new patient, tell them what the course of treatment is for their condition. Ask them if they are willing to commit a number of treatments in order to see results. Be sure they understand that it isn’t a one-time-and-you’re-cured process. If they can’t make that long-term commitment, discuss what they are comfortable doing. That way you both have a clear understanding from the start, and put it in their chart for future reference.
– Red Goes to the Heart, Blue to the Kidney: Tell your patients about Five Element Theory and TCM dietary therapy. It’s easy for them to remember the colors of the organ systems, and patients enjoy coming up with healthy foods for their most deficient organs. Tell them they can apply the theory to their family’s diets, as well.
– Hope: Tell your patients that acupuncture can help them to feel better in many ways, such as less pain, improved sleep, and less anxiety. Even if it won’t completely resolve their condition, many people who come for acupuncture come as a last resort when all else has failed to improve their health. When you tell a patient you can help them, they smile and relax, and so they are already starting to heal. TCM theory tells us that a soothed Liver and a calm Heart are important to the balance of Yin and Yang. Giving hope treats the Spirit.