Reflect on your relationship
If you’re a provider, you might think that your patients already feel like they can speak with you honestly and directly about what they need. But some patients don’t feel safe speaking up in health care encounters. Here are some things to consider:
- Consider cultural differences. For instance, many Indigenous people have had negative experiences that impact their trust and confidence in the health care system. Seek to understand your patients by asking questions. Understanding your own personal biases (we all have them) as a provider and respecting differences in beliefs, practices and communication styles is an important part of understanding what matters to them.
- Make time for questions. At the end of a health care encounter, patients may be processing what you have told them, or feel like they are out of time. Take a few minutes to stop and ask, “Have I given you all the information you need?” or “Do you have any other questions for me?”