Fracture, Break or Crack

So I didn’t fracture it then?

Rewind possibly 1 minute and you will find I just informed someone that the had “broken a bone in their wrist”.  Or it could have been I used the word “fracture” and the patient is relived that it isn’t a “break”.  Either way it’s still broken and the number of times I have heard this relief expressed is amazing.  We chuckle in the doctors office and then move on.

But it constantly reminds me that it is no good for us to explain something to a patient and expect them to understand.  No 2 people (generally) are the same and their understanding of a concept (treatment or diagnosis) can be totally different despite repeating the same words.

This concept could be when prescribing and teaching an exercise, providing a client/family with education related to a condition or teaching others in our profession.  How one person learns is different to another and this includes our patients.

Physio exercise meme

Does this ring true for you? How many times have you given your patients the best clinical information, provided them with up to date evidence only to find that they continued with their passive treatments, took off their splint, ignored their exercise diary.  Have you considered why this is the case?

Is it simply because they didn’t understand the importance?  They didn’t hear the message you had to tell.  Are they now a non-cooperative patient or do you try again?  Explain it another way, show them how, change your tact.  Our communication in healthcare is so important and this is a huge message to pass onto our students.

I’d love to hear your stories on funny things patients say, mistakes made when providing information to clients or simply treatments gone wrong!!

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