Tried to talk to an elderly patient on the ward about their food choices from the menu. The patient was very difficult to talk to. I was not sure that I had got all the information I needed. I was concerned that if I was needing to use this information to plan care, I might not have everything I needed. This seems to be about:
• My communication skills
• Communication barriers
In this case the patient was feeling unwell and probably did not want to talk. I was trying to remember everything we learnt in our communication skills lectures and I think I may have been trying too hard to “get it all right.”I was asking lots of open questions as we had been taught. However this patient was unwell and needed to be able to give brief answers.I was asking double questions eg “Do you find that you know what the words on the menu mean and is the print large enough for you to read?” By the time he had answered part one we had both forgotten what part two was.Also the ward was noisy and it was hard to hear the patient. I expect he found it hard to hear me especially as he had hearing difficulties.I thought I was a good communicator so I rushed into this task without planning. On reflection I could have chosen a quieter time or a quieter place for the discussion. I should also have jotted down key themes in a logical order as this might have stopped me asking double questions. I also needed to use a few key open questions supplemented by closed questions which the patient could answer easily.I have learnt that although I am a confident communicator, talking to sick patients in the ward setting requires more thought and preparation.