During the initial interview with a patient, we want to ask questions to help better facilitate he conversation. More importantly, we want to be able to understand what the patient is experiencing, so we can better help them during their respective episode of care.
To succeed, we must know how to ask strategic questions to extrapolate pertinent information to help guide our clinical decision making during the rehabilitation process. There are a few questions I believe will certainly help you figure out how to handle the episode of care with your patient:
Have you tried conservative measures before?
This question will be very telling and revealing of important patient information. We must learn about past experiences to understand more about the patient. Doing this will allow us to learn more insight into the patient’s believe system, values, treatment preferences, and many other factors that will play a role in the delivery of care.
What was good about those past experiences?
Here is your cheat code to treating your patient. Your patient will let you know all the things they believe that were helpful. You can then figure out strategies to address the patient’s impairments and functional limitations accordingly. However, the patient might provide helpful treatment methods that do not line up with your own professional belief system or clinical equipoise. It then becomes important to have an active discussion with the patient and utilize shared decision-making throughout the process.
What was bad about those past experiences?
We also must understand what went wrong with past experiences. Learning from past mistakes can help the clinician formulate an effective plan of care. Learning about the negative experiences provides a plethora of information to help us appreciate what the patient has experienced, but more so what we can do to improve the current as well as future experiences.
Asking these strategic questions will ultimately enhance the overall patient experience. Understanding this information will help guide clinicians to better understand what patients are experiencing, so we are able to deliver the highest quality of care possible.
Article Written By Eric Trauber, PT, DPT, OCS, CSCS, FAAOMPT