ARTICLES / General / Communication…the Essentials /
By William R. Leahy, M.D.
Always gather your information and write
notes before calling the doctor or nurse. Plan what you
will say in advance; writing notes is a good way to help
you remember. If you have to leave a message, make it
brief, complete and clear. If someone will call you
back, keep the notes by the phone or in your pocket so
you can easily find them. Write your observations, when
you first noticed them, and any supporting details such
as the presence of fever. Always be prepared to give the
patient’s name, date of birth, Social Security number
and insurance information.
These strategies for phone calls may also be used for
visits to the office of professionals.
Communication at all levels is essential for the
continued physical and emotional well-being of a loved
one, and serves as a key bridge between the patient and
the healthcare team. All caregivers should consider the
importance of communication and reflect upon strategies
to develop the art and science of communication.