Whether they talk about it with their doctor or not, patients have plenty of fears and anxiety around colonoscopy procedures. Some of these fears may be considered minor to many, but major to the person getting screened. Just the thought of having a colonoscopy can cause some patients to procrastinate for years, even if they know that colorectal cancer is the #2 leading cause of cancer deaths in the US.
In order to help create a "Culture of Empathy" for colonoscopy patients, it's important to remember three things.
Remember that while clinicians take care of colonoscopy patients daily, patients only rarely have a colonoscopy. Doctors can help ease their patients' fear by providing them with information and answering all of their questions. Making the statement, "Help me understand what I can do to help you," may be all that is needed to start a productive dialogue.
A major part of a patient's anxiety can come from embarrassment. Many patients are uncomfortable with the thought of an endoscope in their colon and multiple people in the procedure room. Help alleviate their embarrassment by addressing topics like who will be in the room, what they will be wearing, and if other patients will share the recovery room.
For many colonoscopy patients, the experience doesn't end when the procedure does. When doctors follow-up with their patients after procedures, whether through a phone call or even an emailed survey, their patients can feel better knowing that someone is still thinking about them. Also, the information gathered through follow-up can be used to help the next patient.
Providing patient education, alleviating embarrassment and following-up can help ease many anxieties around colonoscopy procedures. Because screening for colorectal cancer is so important, every effort should be made to empathize with the concerns of colonoscopy patients so that they don't wait too long.
GI Supply offers two solutions that may help ease some patient worries:
MoonPants® offer a more modest alternative to open-back hospital gowns.