Communication, communication, communication

By Bill Dickson, Kidney Patient and member of the Nottingham Team for Transforming Participation in Chronic Kidney Disease

The English language is possibly the most effective para-medical tool we have. Used correctly it can calm a stressful situation, both for patients and their families. It can effectively give a positive path when looking to the future. Language thus used in both forms – verbal and written. Geoff, for instance, when he is welcoming and introducing patients to dialysis has a great ability to explain things without drama or harsh medical terms which puts patients at their ease.

The medical staff at all levels need this ability. They need to be able to explain test results, problems, procedures and possible outcomes. Yes, this may require more time in the consultation but in the long terms it saves both time and money. If things are not explained clearly and helpfully other departments can be called upon by confused family members to explain to patients and or family members exactly what was meant by x, y or z. Sometimes dad or mum don’t understand a word that was said.

In these days of knowledge for everyone, through the internet etc. it could be presumed that most people have some idea of how to obtain information about the basic workings of their own body. This may be true but the prevailing understanding is that which was passed on by older family members. Many people do not know for instance, where their kidneys are, how many we have and what they do in our bodies. Maybe easy to read and understand literature could be available for some problems, given out as required by medical staff, but never in lieu of a proper consultation.

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