Take a Break and Sit - It Can Help More Than Your Feet and Back

Premier Pulse     June 2018

Kanagy_HS_350x350By Scott Kanagy, DO, MBA, chief medical officer, Premier Health Northern Region

Given the busy schedules and demanding time constraints of today’s health care professionals, finding a way to meet our needs and the needs of our patients would be a great win. Well, there is a simple action that everyone can do to accomplish just that.

The next time you are at a patient’s bedside, sit rather than stand. Caregivers are often pressed for time and appear rushed, which leads to unhappy patients. Patients often feel rushed, and as if their questions are not answered at as great of a rate as when caregivers stand. This leads to additional interactions, calls, revisits, and readmissions. It also causes increased time requirements of the caregivers, and inefficient and ineffective interactions.

Studies have shown that caregivers who sit are perceived as spending more time with patients than those who stand. However, sitting caregivers in those studies actually spent less time with patients than those who stood. On average, a one-minute sitting interaction with a patient was perceived as being an approximately five-minute interaction with the caregiver. Sitting allows patients to get comfortable in a vulnerable setting; and making eye contact makes people feel secure and establishes trust while building the patient-caregiver relationship. It’s about connecting with the patient on an individual level. In a world where patient satisfaction is a driving force, this is a simple action we can use to help improve our scores and overall patient care.

When caregivers sit, patients express greater satisfaction and have a better sense of understanding of their condition. This leads to better patient compliance with orders and recommendations; fewer instances of litigation; and, as a result, a reduction in unnecessary costs.

As we continue to lobby for more time to spend with our patients, perhaps we can be more efficient with the time that we already have. We cannot change the amount of time each of us has in a day; however, we can affect how we use the time that we do have with our patients. So, rest your feet and back the next time you go into a patient’s room – and by doing so, improve the care you provide to your patients. 

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