It’s not just in your head. When prosthetists—or physicians—fail to show compassion, it can impact their patients’ physical outcome and mental health.
Nothing makes a visit to the prosthetist more dissuasive than a prosthetist that lacks empathy. This statement is not based on the common feelings of patients alone. In fact, more and more healthcare providers believe that when an emotional connection is established between a provider and a patient, outcomes improve. So, whether you’re in your prosthetist’s office for a socket adjustment, scheduled maintenance or a repair, feeling their compassion goes a long way.
We believe that prosthetists are generally compassionate people. However, some of them fall short in expressing it and get caught up in the increasing demands from healthcare insurers in the form of a mountain of paperwork.
As prosthetists and their staff are forced to become more task-oriented, it’s easy to de-prioritize taking the time to communicate well with patients and recognize that they have a direct impact on a person's well-being.
Despite these external factors, there is a way for you to advocate for yourself and improve your prosthetic care. Here are some things that you can do at your next appointment.
More often than not, it’s as simple as saying something. Let your prosthetist know when you don’t understand what they’re explaining, or you feel that they are rushing to end your appointment.
Although your situation may be routine to your prosthetist, it’s certainly personal and unique to you. Sometimes, your prosthetist can forget that, so share your feelings with your prosthetist.
Some concrete steps you can take include asking your prosthetist to use non-prosthetic jargon. You can also ask them to write down any prosthetic terms that you can Google after the appointment. Or you can also write down everything your prosthetist is saying so you can review anything that didn’t make sense at the time of the appointment.
Ask them to sit down
Many prosthetists stand up when they talk to patients, and this can be due to a multi-tasking mindset. If you feel rushed, ask your prosthetist to sit down and give you their undivided attention. Doing this will slow them down and remind your prosthetist that this is a one-on-one conversation.
Don’t hesitate to ask your prosthetist to sit down. Studies show that medical clinics can improve a patient's experience by simply training their medical staff to sit down every time they speak with a patient. Use this to your advantage.
Point out multitasking
If you notice your prosthetist working on their computer or typing information into your electronic medical record while explaining something to you, politely get them to stop.
You can say: “I’ll wait until you’re done typing, then I'll ask my questions.” Prosthetists will typically snap out of their task-oriented trap when you remind them.
Find a new prosthetist
If you’ve been trying to get your prosthetist to show compassion and you're experiencing prosthetic issues, it’s time to find a new one. You deserve a prosthetist that you can have a respectful relationship with and has your best interests at heart.
There are plenty of prosthetists that care about building good relationships with their patients. This, in part, is what defines a successful prosthetic facility. And this simple yet crucial element allows you to form genuine relationships with your prosthetic team.
What’s your experience with your prosthetist like? Feel free to comment below and share with the community your favorite prosthetist.