HIV Specialist Nurse, North Manchester General Hospital, UK
Patient concerns are all too rarely expressed by patients or identified by healthcare professionals, and they cause long-term distress when not addressed. Whether physical, psychosocial or spiritual concerns, many patients are reluctant to raise them due to commonly held expectations and assumptions. These include the belief that raising them is up to the healthcare workers – who are often seen as too busy or important to be burdened with patient concerns. Also, patients may lack the confidence, social skills or vocabulary to ask questions, or may be too embarrassed to raise certain difficulties [1–3].
Similarly, healthcare staff are generally poor at detecting even severe levels of distress in their patients and fail to enquire about patient concerns – or may even block patients’ attempts to communicate them. Ultimately, these communication failures mean patients’ concerns go unattended, which in turn increases their anxiety and stress [4–6]. Read more…