Inform the patient
- The medical condition is called “...”
- Explain the pathophysiology
- Consequences / complications of the condition! May happen again, may affect ability to do certain things, ...
- Investigations that might be needed to conclude the condition OR to look for complications
Preventive measures: e.g. modify the poly-pharmacy ...
Treatment: life style / medications (side effects / alternatives / consequences of not receiving treatment)
Offer more info: brochures / web sites / support groups
Break every 30-60 seconds (check & recheck that your patient understands); ask the patient: does that make sense? Is this acceptable? Reasonable? Is it clear?
General tips for the counselling sessions:
- Make it interactive not lecturing
- At the beginning ask whether your patient has a specific concern
- Do not mislead your patient; if you are not sure about anything, say that this is a very good question and you are going to check the answer for him.
Whenever you hear “car accident”:
- I am sorry to hear that!
- Was anyone hurt? I am sorry for that
- Were you driving or a passenger?
If you do not know the answer to a question:
- This is a good question/point, I will check it for you and we will discuss it next visit.
- It is better to refer you to the specialist; there are too many points regarding this issue that it will be better to discuss it with the specialist.
A good statement to use in different counselling situations: always in medicine, we balance the benefits and the side effects.