“Patient Conversations: What We Say Makes a Difference”

Contact Name: Kris English

Contact Email: ke3@uakron.edu

Kris English, Ph.D. is a professor at the University of Akron/NOAC.  She has authored, co-authored or edited 8 books and 21 chapters, and has presented over 200 workshops and papers in the US, Canada, and Europe, primarily on the topic of audiologic counselling. She recently completed 5 years of service as a Board member for the American Academy of Audiology, including a term as President in 2009-2010.

When patients reject our recommendations, it is our responsibility to understand their concerns and objections. As we listen, we hear expressions of negative emotions such as, ‘I¹d be too embarrassed to be seen at work with hearing aids’, or ‘Everyone says hearing aids are a big hassle’. Patients may never use the word ‘fear’ but we need to realize that it is ‘in the room’ with us and presents itself as resistance, as a ‘no’ to our recommendations. Goulston (2010) observed that the instinctive response to resistance actually creates more resistance: “Most people upshift when they want to get through to other people. They persuade. They encourage. They argue. They push. And in the process, they create [even more] resistance” (p. 4). On the other hand, responses described as ‘patient-centred’ have been strongly correlated with high rates of patient adherence. This session will review the evidence relating patient-centered conversations to adherence rates, and describe two types of responses that can make a positive difference.

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