Communicating (Even the Smallest) Victories to Your Patients
Today one of my patients had her 4th PTNS treatment.
Sometimes it can be challenging to keep patients interested in continuing treatment when improvements are not obvious to them. There are a lot of symptoms that become alleviated along the treatment path that, unless they are pointed out to the patient, are taken for granted and not seen as a part of their current and upcoming successes.
First of all, with every question that you ask your patient, there can be a success story. For example, if they are sleeping an extra hour or two and their second or third time getting up is at 4:00 or 5:00 am instead of 2:00 or 3:00 am, that’s progress. Are they are wearing 3 pads a day instead of 5? Is the amount of leakage less? Are they not leaking through their pads onto their sheets or through their clothes? Can they stand up from a chair and get to the bathroom without leaking? Do they leak less? Are they able to go out of their home without the fear of wetting all over themselves? Are their behavioral management interventions starting to work better too?
All these “little” things that you can point out to them that they don’t always think of can make them feel like there is progress and success.
Too often we practitioners, along with our patients, set ourselves up for failure when patient goals are too lofty. I make it a point to always tell my patients, “I can’t promise to cure you, but if you work with me, you can get better.” Help your patients make goals that are realistic, small, manageable and meaningful for them. For example “I want to be able to watch a movie with my grandkids without getting up to go to the bathroom.” “I want to go out to dinner with my spouse and not have to excuse myself.” If all you tell your patient is that he or she will start getting better at the sixth treatment, you might not have happy patients and more treatment dropouts. If you start on a weight loss program and are told you won’t lose weight for 6 weeks, not many would stick it out.
Celebrate small successes. Soon they will become big successes. Success breeds happy patients … and a happy practice!
This blog post reflects the opinions and experience of Leslie Wooldridge, a long-standing user of the Urgent PC Neuromodulation System, and was produced under a paid consulting agreement with Cogentix Medical.
Urgent PC is indicated for the treatment of Overactive Bladder and associated symptoms of urinary urgency, urinary frequency and urge incontinence. Treatment with Urgent PC is contraindicated for patients with pacemakers or implantable defibrillators, patients prone to excessive bleeding, patients with nerve damage that could impact either percutaneous tibial nerve or pelvic floor function or patients who are pregnant or planning to become pregnant during the duration of the treatment. Most patients don't experience side-effects. If side-effects occur, they are typically temporary and include mild pain and skin inflammation at or near the stimulation site. Caution: Federal law (USA) restricts this device to sale by or on the order of a physician. For complete instructions for use, storage, warnings, indications, contraindications, precautions, adverse reactions and disclaimer of warranties, please refer to the insert accompanying each product or online at www.cogentixmedical.com. Models are for illustrative purposes only. Urgent is a registered trademark of Cogentix Medical © 2015 Cogentix Medical. All rights reserved.