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Working with Difficult Patients- 8

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ID-100124743Read the whole series by going to the start: Working with Patients You Want to Punch in the Face.

Difficult Patient #8: The Guardian

Problem: Parents, grandparents or guardians bring kids into the office with a predetermined list of Doctor-Dos-and-Don’ts.  They demand exceptional care for the beloved child while refusing to complete all office forms, rejecting the need for x-rays, and determined to hover over your shoulder while you maliciously try to insert a mirror into the child’s mouth looking for evidence of why they are a bad Guardian.

Reality:  Guardians come with high fear.  Being that there are two reactions to fear, flight or fight, you are encountering a person in natural fight mode as a response to fear.  Those that have flight responses don’t bring their kids into the dental office unless they have to.  I’m sure you can relate to taking the offensive approach when your kids, pets, or family members are involved.  It’s a natural reaction when we are protecting someone we care about.

Solution: Building trust is an important component to deescalating a situation with a high fear Guardian.  Start with simple chit chat and some light humor to lighten the tension.  If the Guardian continues to display fear-based behaviors, ask to speak to them privately and directly ask them about their tone.  Reassure them you have the best intentions of making this a painless and positive experience for the child and you need their help in ensuring that happens.  Discuss how to work as a team and empower the Guardian to act differently in spite of their fear.

Step 8: Make sure you are expressing empathy by visiting .

Comments are encouraged!

Only a few more and difficult patients will be a breeze.  Working with Difficult Patients- 9

Photo by: sattva

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