Being nicer to patients will help them heal, doctors told

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Being nicer to patients will help them heal, doctors told

By Steve Doughty The Daily Mail.

DOCTORS are being urged to be nicer to their patients to increase their chances of recovery. They have been told that improv­ing their bedside manner will not only give the sick and vulnerable a greater sense of dignity and respect, it could even help to save their lives. By contrast, a cold and indiffer­ent attitude can undermine their patients' chances of getting better.

According to advice in the British Medical Journal yesterday, doctors need to adopt an 'A.B.C and D of dignity' when treating the sick. The letters stand for attitude, behaviour, compassion and dia­logue. The code of conduct suggests doctors ask themselves how they would feel if they were the patient lying alone and scared in a hospi­tal bed.

They are told that their bedside manner should include speaking to a patient from a comfortable dis­tance and at the same eye level, using everyday language a patient can understand and carrying out occasional small acts of kindness.

This might mean getting a patient a glass of water, helping them find slippers, adjusting their pillow or noticing their flowers. An understanding look or a gen­tle touch on the arm can show compassion, the advice said.

The suggestions come at a time when the Health Service stands accused of overly concentrating on the need to meet targets. The Daily Mail's “Dignity for the Elderly” campaign has drawn atten­tion to the way in which the wishes and needs of the old and vulnera­ble are regularly ignored.

Ministers have accepted that the elderly need to be shown more respect, and the Department of Health has ordered hospital and care workers to stop calling older patients by names like 'love' or 'pet'. Psychiatrist and cancer expert Harvey Chochinov, who developed the code of conduct, said: 'Not being treated with dignity and respect can undermine a sense of value or worth.

'Patients who feel that life no longer has worth, meaning or pur­pose are more likely to feel that they have become a burden to oth­ers, and patients who feel they are little more than a burden may start to question the point of their con­tinued existence.' He added: 'Might an assumption of poor quality of life in a patient with longstanding disabilities lead to the withholding of life-sustain­ing choices?'

Professor Chochinov said doc­tors' behaviour should always be based on respect and kindness. He said that upholding the dig­nity of a patient 'embraces the very essence of medicine'.

They should let a patient know they understand the difficulties of being examined, for example, by making remarks like 'I'm sorry we have to do this to you'. Showing compassion should include 'some form of communica­tion, spoken or unspoken, that acknowledges the person beyond their illness.'

Dialogue means taking account of the emotional impact of illness, the professor explained. For exam­ple, a doctor might tell a patient: 'I can only imagine what you are going through.'

Doctors should: -

Ask themselves how they would feel if they were the patient.

Never withdraw from contact with a patient just because their illness is incurable.

Always ask the patient's permission to include students in any examination.

Set the patient at ease during examination, for example by saying 'I know this might feel a bit uncomfortable'.

Do not have a conversation with a patient during an examination until they are dressed or covered.

Help by getting a patient a glass of water or adjusting their pillow.

Never use language a patient cannot understand to describe their illness within their hearing.

Show compassion with an understanding look or a touch on the shoulder, arm or hand.

Ask a patient about their family or friends and what help they want from them.

Read books and watch films and plays that help understand how people feel.


Translate into English:

1. Докторов убеждают быть более дружелюбными с пациентами, чтобы увеличить их шансы на выздоровление.

2. Буквы A, B, C и D означают отношение, поведение, сострадание и диалог.

3. Кодекс поведения советует докторам спросить самих себя, как бы они себя чувствовали, если бы они были пациентами и лежали бы в больнице в одиночестве, испытывая чувство страха.

4. Докторам следует разговаривать с пациентами с удобного расстояния, и при этом их глаза должны находиться на уровне глаз пациента.

5. Никогда в разговоре с пациентом не используйте слова и выражения, которые пациент не может понять.

6. Министры приняли во внимание, что нужно проявлять больше уважения к пожилым людям.

7. Всегда спрашивайте разрешение у пациента, если планируется, что студенты будут принимать участие в обследовании.

8. Поведение докторов всегда должно быть основано на уважении и доброте.

9. Понимающий взгляд или легкое прикосновение к руке может выразить сострадание.

10. Никогда не избегайте контактов с пациентами только потому, что их болезнь неизлечима.


Please answer the following questions:

1. Why should doctors be nicer to patients?

2. What sorts of terms should not doctors and nurses use to address their patients?

3. What does the code of conduct mean for doctors and nurses?

4. What do the letters A, B, C and D mean?

5. What actions could the bedside manners include to benefit patients?

6. Why are the bedside manners of doctors and nurses so important?

7. Can patients feel that they have become burdens to others? How can doctors help them if this is the case?

8. Why do you think it is important for doctors to be at the same eye level with patients while speaking with them?

9. What should doctor’s behaviour be based on?

10. Can doctor’s behaviour increase patients’ chances of recovery? Do you agree with this idea?



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