Home

C-C
guide

 Handouts

 One to One

Course
plans

Specific
issues

Assessment  Reading

USEFUL PHRASES TO ELICIT IDEAS AND CONCERNS AND FEELINGS

Summarise the problem back to the patient first, then ask:

 “What was in your mind......?”

 “What were you concerned/worried  about...?” (remember that using the word concern helps patient to disclose their worries; most think that their doctor thinks they may be neurotic if they answer to the word worry)

 “Was there a particular concern......?”

 “Tell me what you think the problem is.................have you any clues or theories.....?” 

“Have you any ideas about................”

 “Tell me what you think is the cause............”

 “Do you have any specific worries about..........”

 “Tell me what was concerning you.......... is it cancer?”   (go for it) 

“Is there anybody else you know who has had this problem?” 

“Do you think it might be something serious............?”  .......... something in particular.....?”

 “It’s obviously concerning you........is there any particular reason why?”

 “What in your worst moments did you think it was?”        

 “While you have been waiting to see me .....................  what have been your thoughts?”

 “During those hours when you have been lying awake at night........what have your thoughts been  about the problem?” 

“Some people with the same sort of symptoms that you have think that they have something serious like cancer.......is that what you have been thinking?” 

“I’m interested in your ideas about.........I’d like to hear about them because I think they will help us both to understand the problem better.....”

“What were your feelings about this?”

 “I’m sorry to press you, but what was really on your mind....?”

 Remember that many of these phrases may result in denial;

It is probably the concern and interest which you show through your body language (non-verbal response) which makes it safe for the patient to disclose his worst fears to you rather than the actual words you use.  Note that most patients feel that their doctors will think that their ideas and concerns about particular problems are “foolish”.  (See Tuckett et al in Meetings between Experts Tavistock publications 1985

USEFUL PHRASES TO ELICIT PATIENTS’ EXPECTATIONS

“What did you think we might ............

 “What were you hoping that we might be able to do for this.........

 “I’m interested in your thoughts about what might be helpful before I make any suggestions........ 

“Were you hoping that I might do something in particular............

 “You’ve obviously given this some thought,.......tell me what you were expecting.....

 A good strategy is to give a range of options and then ask what the patient was expecting from the consultation;

“we could try something to help you with the pain; you might like to see a physiotherapist…..what were you hoping I might do….?”

  

To ask about how a problem affects a person’s life:

If appropriate, pick up a cue:

“you said that your knee was giving you a lot of trouble, I was wondering how that was affecting you……”

“I know that you spend a lot of time working for the WRVS/looking after you disabled husband…..tell me how you are coping……”

 The key message you want to put across is that you are interested in their ideas and expectations, and that sharing them together will be helpful as a first step towards agreeing what the problem is likely to be and how to proceed towards some mutually agreed plan of action.

 

 

Skillscascade @2000-2002. All content is copyright by original owners.