Over 18 years I have learnt working with Chronic Complex Diseases requires a certain type of consult set up.
I am setting up round 2 of Vitae Mosaic - Naturopathic Functional Medicine online training for the Naturopaths, Nutritionists, General Practitioners, Acupuncturists & Osteopaths who are joining me starting this week and it occurred to me there are 5 pretty big ESSENTIALS to running a perfect consult for this client group. I thought I would share these with you:
1) Connection & a feeling of HOPE. Right up from the start, the moment they meet you. These patients have probably told their health stories many times without successful outcomes. Make this different, figure out how you can use your skills, empathy, strengths, processes and language, plus a kick ass care plan/treatment strategy to give them HOPE. After all this is healthCARE!
2) Listen, the stats say Doctors interrupt their patients in less than 12 seconds... don’t do this! Let them tell their story, you can gently direct them but there is healing in the story telling and loads of hidden gems for you to find the drivers if you only listen.
3) Pin down the causes. Find the drivers. Rank the importance. Make a plan. Treat the causes. Sounds easy but it can be super overwhelming in complex and chronic cases. It’s why I created VM and why I love Functional Medicine. In VItae Mosaic we use our awesome VM Practitioner Kit of resources to access loads of documents like questionnaires to determine drivers or causes of diseases. We use a system medicine approach and we understand the causes from a system perspective using the always popular and expanding Clinical Guide... it’s all the questions, questionnaires, standard and functional pathology, physical exams, tools and resources you might think of to assess a system, determine drivers and make a plan. I wish I had this Clinical Guide document when I was starting out! Do you have a clear cut set of resources on hand to ensure you’re not missing anything when working with complex patients?
4) Make yourself accessible and educate between consultations. The lessons this group of patients needs to learn are BIG. Dietary changes most likely but also loads of other new skills are often part of the first 3 months working together on these patients health. I try to be available at this time for them between consultations via email, through my in clinic support Naturopaths and with access to great educational resources on loads of topics at my fingertips. In my new VM Practitioner Kit we have many of these written by my team for VM graduates to use. Natural Business Tools also have lots of these. Make sure you have an avenue to educate between consultations, don’t just rely on the supplements and the short in consultation time, these patients need loads of education. Teach to Treat!
5) Follow up. Have a procedure for a brilliant follow up consultation. It’s easier to woo a patient in an initial consultation but the follow up and how you run the consultation is IMO almost more important to determine if this patient will become an ongoing patient. How do you ensure you best serve your patient and business in the second consultation? Having a process like VM Naturopathic Functional Medicine makes this easy for all return consultations.
What 2 things can you change today to improve how you serve the complex and chronically ill patients in your practice?
Learn more about Vitae Mosaic HERE or send me a message HERE