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The role of healthcare professionals: communication

Cliona continues discussing social exclusion and the role of healthcare professionals when caring for those affected by this.

In this video, Cliona ni Cheallaigh talks about what we can do as healthcare professionals to help meet the needs of these vulnerable patients. Helping high-need patients is rewarding both personally and financially for the healthcare system.

As mentioned previously in step 1.7, patients who are socially excluded can be aggressive towards healthcare and hospital staff, which can be frustrating as it can feel like the patient is sabotaging their recovery. These emotional reactions can be because they feel threatened or uneasy about not being able to leave the ward.

It is important to understand the reasons behind difficult emotions and reactions which often are a result of adverse childhood experiences (ACEs). ACEs can affect health and often increase the risk of cardiovascular issues, cancer, addiction, mental health issues and infectious diseases. Socially excluded patients often have multiple ACEs and increased difficult behaviours are correlated with increased ACEs.

It can be common to question whether patients who suffer from addiction deserve the same amount of care as an ordinary person. As healthcare professionals, we need to be aware of imbalances within the healthcare system and alter the healthcare provided. Practices such as trauma-informed care for patients with ACEs consist of tailored interventions and behaviours with calm de-escalation, clear boundaries and consistency. Wrap-around teams and services which effectively communicate together contribute to decreasing unscheduled care of vulnerable patients.

Change is difficult and timely but worth investing in, as proven by the patient in Cliona’s story who: has not used heroin in 2 years, has a good relationship with healthcare staff and is going back into education.

Let us know about your experiences of communications between healthcare professionals in the next step.

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Infection Prevention for Vulnerable Patients

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