Each patient type requires different communication styles. Pediatric patients can be some of the most challenging to really connect with. Susan Lake, OD, shared some of her tips on how she better communicates with her child patients.
How Are Pediatric Patients Different?
Dr. Lake knows that when it comes to children, they need a different approach than adult patients. They’re not veterans to going to the eye doctor; they could be a little scared, unsure of what to expect. Their comprehension is often lower than an adult patient, but beating around the bush doesn’t sit well with them. Adults may be impressed with fancy lingo, but children are usually unphased.
How Dr. Lake Connects with Her Younger Patients
Being honest is the best approach. Dr. Lake was told early in her career, “[Kids] will smell your lies every time; just be honest with them.”
Talk to them, not their parents.
The children are your patients, not their parents. Talking to them makes them feel like an important part of the appointment. While they should feel like you’re considering them a huge part of the visit, it’s still necessary for the parents to be involved and understanding what you’re explaining.
Make their experience unique.
Dr. Lake has found that having something that makes the visit to her office different has helped tremendously in encouraging her pediatric patients to return. For her office, she learned how to make balloon animals.
“The kids went crazy for it. My returning patients ask me for one the second I walk in the exam room and most even know the drawer I keep them in. It’s a great motivation for cooperation during the exam.”
While these are not the only tricks to working with children, Dr. Lake believes these three simple tips are a great place to start connecting with your younger patients.