Hidden or Masked Communication and Patients Expectations

Although the average person has a symptom about every 6 days, he or she visits a physician only once every 4 months. Some people visit a physician much more frequently than others for the same symptom. The group who visits more frequently tends to have a higher level of anxiety, fear, grief, or frustration. It is the physician's responsibility to search for, identify, and treat organic disease if it is present, but in about one half of cases, none will be found. It is equally important to identify the reason for these visits—the basis for the heightened concern or increased anxiety. A person may see a minor symptom as a potential catastrophe if she or he thinks it may be a sign of cancer similar to that causing a parent's death. Is the patient really there "just for a blood pressure check," or because of concern about the condition of his or her coronary arteries since a friend recently had an acute myocardial infarction? If the physician deals only with the symptoms, the real concerns may go undetected, and the result will be a dissatisfied and non-compliant patient.

Barsky (1981, p. 492) cautioned, "Patients who express dissatisfaction with their medical care should be questioned about this, as they may be dissatisfied because their real motivation in seeking care has not been illuminated." He also advised the physician to investigate the patient's current life stresses when visits are made if there is no change in clinical status.

Patients may come to a physician because of what they imagine is causing their symptoms rather than because of the symptoms themselves. Identifying what patients hope can be done for them—focusing on their expectations for the visit—often reveals hidden reasons for the visit. The physician should be sure to address the patient's expectations and make certain that the interpretation is correct. Rapport and satisfaction will be enhanced if the physician identifies and satisfies the patient's expectations for the visit. Dissatisfaction results when these expectations go unmet.

Do Not Panic

Do Not Panic

This guide Don't Panic has tips and additional information on what you should do when you are experiencing an anxiety or panic attack. With so much going on in the world today with taking care of your family, working full time, dealing with office politics and other things, you could experience a serious meltdown. All of these things could at one point cause you to stress out and snap.

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