|5 Quick Tips to Relax your Patient|
Reset the Stress Response into the Relaxation Response
Patients are stressed! They are stressed from their illness, injuries, health coverage worries, family relationships and work concerns. Stress is one of the most frequent causes of illness and injury and it is frequently an outcome. Any patient, whether they are aware of it or not, are stimulating the age old stress response: the fight or flight mechanism.
How can you help reset the Stress Response into the Relaxation Response?
Here are 5 Quick Tips:
1. Start with yourself. Before entering the patient's domain, take 3 breaths with intention and a pause between each one. With the first breath, the intention is to bring bring a sense of calm and relaxation to yourself. Now pause. With the second breath, the intention is to connect to the uniqueness of this one patient and the many things they may be experiencing. Pause again. And with the third breath, the intention is to make your interaction with the patient one that brings calm and a sense of well-being. Pause and now enter the patient's room. Observe how the experience shifts for both you and your patient.
2. During simple tasks and complex procedures coach your patient into relaxation breathing. When preparing your supplies and the patient into position, suggest to them, "Before I/we get started, I'd like to guide you in a breathing technique to relax your body and mind. You can feel more comfortable when your mind and body are relaxed. Simply focus on your own natural rhythm of breathing and follow your in-breath for its full duration...and your out-breath for its full duration. During the procedure I'll remind you to continue with your focus on your breath. Also, at anytime, let me know if there is anything I can do to make you more comfortable."*
3. Engage the patient in their own imagery. Most patients have a place or an activity that gives them a sense of well-being and vitality. It might be a place they spent time in as a child, or on vacation or even a place they always wanted to go. Or it might be taking walk, bike or hike? When with your patient, ask them, "If you could be anywhere else but here right now, where would that be?" Let them describe it to you as you check the IV or if you have time, sit down on the edge of the bed and listen. If you don't have time, tell them that you want to hear all about when you return. Remember your promise and ask them the next time you are in the room.
4. Make the "S" sound. Making the "S" sound as if hissing like a snake (tongue at the roof of your mouth) is a breathing technique that is particularly good for going through painful procedures or for moments of acute pain. Ask your patient to make the "S" sound with you making along with them. Tell them to do this throughout the procedure with your coaching.
5. Making a fist. Have your patient make a tight fist. Then suggest that they open their fingers slowly relaxing one finger at a time.
NOTE: If your patient is highly anxious, there are more advanced strategies you can learn. Click Here