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Consultation: Different Approaches

Dr Nick suggests some different approaches that may work with patients to aid communication and uncovering their concerns regarding their symptoms
OK, let’s move to discussing ways of talking to patients about their expectations and addressing their needs. First, I’d like to emphasise that there’s no one right way. You might want to think about developing a few different approaches that can be used in different situations. Second, managing respiratory tract infections is bread and butter stuff for most primary care clinicians, and therefore, you’ve probably developed a well-established turn of phrase and style for these consultations. And changing that isn’t necessarily easy. It can feel unnatural at first. I suggest you try out a few different approaches, perhaps with colleagues or friends and family. Practice definitely can help.
It’s a good idea to discuss which approaches work well and which don’t work so well, and develop a Practice that you’re happy with. But believing that you can improve the way you communicate about respiratory tract infections and use of antibiotics and that this can make a big difference to you and your patients is a really important first step. A brief webinar can’t provide you with comprehensive communication skills training, so you can find more training online at the Target Antibiotics Toolkit website, or you can speak to your local medicines management team, if you’re interested in getting some more training. But I’m going to show you now a couple of things that I find helpful in my own Practice.
Now I’m sure most clinicians are familiar with ICE, Ideas, Concerns, Expectations. I actually don’t find it all that helpful to ask patients with a respiratory tract infection what they think is wrong with them, but I do find it very helpful to ask them what they’re concerned about. I also– and especially if I get a sense that they really want an antibiotics– find it helpful to ask them what their thoughts about antibiotics are.

Nick suggests some different approaches that may work with patients to aid communication and uncovering their concerns regarding their symptoms and also to ask what their thoughts are regarding taking antibiotics.

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TARGET Antibiotics – Prescribing in Primary Care

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