How Do You Calm an Anxious Patient: Tips from Experts and Patients?

Updated on July 2, 2020

Are your patients avoiding you?

Recent studies prove that Americans are avoiding dental and doctor appointments. A total of 42% of Americans say they don’t visit the dentist regularly. While an additional 29% of Americans don’t see their primary care doctor as much as they’d like to.

If you suspect your patients are avoiding you, anxiety could be the cause. Luckily, there are things you can do today to start instilling a sense of calm in your practice.

How do you calm an anxious patient? Read on to find out!

How Do You Calm an Anxious Patient? Slow Down

How do you calm an anxious patient? Oftentimes, slowing down your speech is a great start. However, if you don’t know the signs of anxiety, it can be difficult to notice when a patient is struggling.

Here are some signs that a patient may be anxious:

  • The patient is having trouble listening
  • The patient is giving irrelevant responses
  • The patients are sweating
  • The patient is breathing heavy

If you notice your patients displaying any of the signs above, it usually means you need to slow down.

Speak Slowly

Start speaking more slowly, and thoroughly explain things. For instance, let’s say you’re explaining the outline of an upcoming procedure your performing for your patient.

If you suspect your patients getting nervous, it could be because they’re having difficulty following the information. By slowing down, and thoroughly explaining everything, you’ll be able to help them digest the information. As they understand more about what lies ahead, many of your patient’s anxieties will fall away.

Provide Colored Glasses

The high powered lamps dentists use are incredibly bright and uncomfortable to look at. Imagine, being a patient, and having to stare at those bright lights during the entire procedure. It’d be nearly impossible to enter a calm state of mind with constant brightness bearing down on you.

Luckily, there’s a simple solution to disorienting bright lights, and that’s colored glasses. It’s already common for dentists to provide patients with clear glasses to protect their eyes from fluids. However, while clear glasses are great pieces of safety equipment, they won’t provide the same comfort as colored glasses.

In addition to blocking out the light, colored glasses can also have a positive psychological affect. That’s why we suggest you pick colors for your glasses that are scientifically known to promote feelings of serenity.

For instance, did you know blue is one of the most relaxing colors around? In addition to calming the mind, the color blue can also lower your pulse and body temperature.

Researchers also believe the color blue gives people a sense of trust and dependability. Now your patients can enjoy seeing things through a serene blue filter that calms their nerves.

Take Full Responsibility

Taking responsibility for delays or inconveniences, helps patients feel heard. This is especially true when a patient’s awaiting a diagnosis. When a patient visits a doctor with an unknown illness, they expect the doctor to have all the answers.

However, providing an accurate diagnosis isn’t usually something that can happen overnight. Instead, it takes time to run tests, evaluate the results, and try different treatment options. As patients wait to find out what’s wrong with them, they’re anxiety grows, and it’s not uncommon for them to become angry.

If you’re working with a patient, who’s still waiting for answers, you’ll want to handle them with extra care. Take responsibility by stating the facts, without sugar-coating them.

For instance, you could say, “You’re right Mrs. Smith, you came here 2 weeks ago for answers, and we still haven’t been able to tell you why you’re having this issue”. You’ll notice that when you take responsibility, or “admit guilt”, the patient suddenly becomes less upset. This is because you’ve diffused the situation, and you’re taking the fight away by agreeing.

Installs TVs

Have you ever walked into a sports bar, only to see televisions lining every wall? Televised programming is a great way to attract customers because TV is comforting and helps us feel relaxed. If you want your patients to feel right at home, try placing televisions in every room.

We find that the waiting room is 1 of the most important rooms to put a TV in. Instead of waiting anxiously, now patients can distract themselves with whatever’s playing. Quality talk shows, cooking shows, and nature shows are all safe options that can put the patient in the right mindset.

Since televisions can make patients feel at home, it can help them bypass the urge to hurry through their visit.

In the past, you may have felt like your patients were rushing to finish their appointments with you. However, you’ll notice that calm patients are willing to stay and talk with you. They’ll also feel confident about asking questions to find out more ways to improve their health.

Perform a Pain Level Check

If a patient is losing their cool during a dental visit, it could be because the pain levels are too high. Everyone responds to pain differently. While laughing gas might be enough for one patient, another patient might not experience enough of an effect.

If you’re performing a dental procedure and notice your patient’s anxiety is starting to swell, take a moment to check in with them. If you discover their pain levels are too high, explore the different available relief options. If you have a patient who is especially pain intolerant, they may need an oral sedative to help lessen their anxiety.

Keep Your Patients Happy

How do you calm an anxious patient? Now you know the truth!

Once you find a technique that works for you, go ahead and give it a try. Your patients are sure to love the calming results. For more articles like this one, go ahead and explore the rest of this site!

The Editorial Team at Healthcare Business Today is made up of skilled healthcare writers and experts, led by our managing editor, Daniel Casciato, who has over 25 years of experience in healthcare writing. Since 1998, we have produced compelling and informative content for numerous publications, establishing ourselves as a trusted resource for health and wellness information. We offer readers access to fresh health, medicine, science, and technology developments and the latest in patient news, emphasizing how these developments affect our lives.