During these difficult times of the COVID-19 Pandemic, many of us as Healthcare professionals need to follow up with our patients by phone or video. This can be trying at times and its never quite the same as face to face appointments, but none the less, very effective. Clinicians should use their professional judgement to make decisions about the most appropriate consultation method on an individual basis. The ICS has put together a few top tips to help guide professionals to undertake high-quality consultations.
• Ensure you maintain your professional attitude. This may be something as simple as wearing your lab coat.
• Allow extra time for technical issues and ensure there is no background noise
• If you are teaching pre-op or pelvic floor exercises email patient information brochures ahead of time.
• Send bladder diaries in advance on a word document rather than pdf so they can send it back to you
• Ensure you and your patient have appropriate equipment for discussion and demonstration of exercises
• Try to have pelvic anatomy models and diagrams like you would do in your clinic – you can always share your screen to show useful images or websites
• Ensure that you’re aware of local emergency escalation pathways in the rare event that you need to use them
Conducting the call
• Ensure that privacy is maintained at all times and subject to patient consent.
• Reassure the patient that you can cover the same information by remote teaching. Demonstrate the exercises.
• Keeping the calls short and concise will help prevent the patient from becoming overwhelmed. More frequent follow up calls may be required instead.
Ending the session and follow up
• Reinforce key learning points or decisions from the session and check that the patient understands them
• Ensure you have given enough time to listen to the patient concerns/questions and let them know that the session is going to end.
• After the consultation, send an email with a brief summary of the key points and attach any leaflets that will help the patient to fully understand what they have learned.