The Patient Relations and Service Recovery Guide: A Colorful Approach to Handling Upset and Angry Patients

The American Journal of Orthopedics – January 2015
by Jennifer A. O’Brien, MSOD

Tearful breakdowns and loud outbursts—they happen with orthopedic patients even in the best of practices. And if you are an orthopedic surgeon who has rarely or never experienced a patient in emotional distress, just talk with your staff—they have no doubt experienced this many times.

There is something about orthopedic conditions—they carry with them an increased likelihood of emotional adverse effects for patients and their loved ones. Inhibited movement can lead to palpable frustration and depression. Time off from work may cause financial hardship and an identity crisis for a family bread-winner. Physical pain can cause the patient to become depressed, angry, or dependent on prescription medication. Medications can cause a change in disposition or outlook. These realities make orthopedic surgery practices particularly predisposed to patient relations risks and service recovery opportunities.

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