There is simply no way of avoiding it: no matter where you may choose to work as a CNA, you will likely encounter patients who like to complain. At times, complaints may be relatively minor and easy to handle. But what do you do if you cannot figure out how to solve a complaint or if you are faced with handling a chronic complainer? The following information can be of great help in these types of situations.
1. Listen Carefully to the Complaint
You may very well be tempted to wear earplugs when dealing with complaints, particularly when it involves patients who chronically complain or who become easily agitated. However, this is just not acceptable in a setting that serves the public, especially in facilities that provide medical care. With that said, listen to your patients' complaints carefully without interrupting them.
In many cases, by listening to the entire complaints of your patients, you may find that they will be easier to solve than you initially thought they would be! It is also a good idea to jot down notes about the complaints in case you need to repeat them to a supervisor. When you are sure that your patients are done speaking, ask any questions you may have to clarify the complaints and jot down the answers.
2. Offer an Apology and Avoid Rationalizing
Secondly, no matter what the complaint may be and no matter who may be at fault, always offer a sincere apology to your patient and avoid using any rationalizations. Try to see your patient's side and imagine how you would feel in the same situation. Even if you have done everything you should have done properly, offer an apology.
Likewise, even if you know that someone other than you is at fault for the situation, offer a sincere apology! Never place the blame on someone else, and do not tell your patient that the problem is due to the rules and regulations of the facility. This is rationalizing the problem and does not solve anything.
3. Solve the Problem as Quickly as Possible
After you have listened to your patient's complaint and offered an apology, you will want to solve the problem as quickly as possible. As stated above, you will find that many complaints can be solved rather easily. But if you find that the problem is a bit too complicated to solve immediately, tell your patient that you will discuss the issue with a coworker or your supervisor and get back with them as soon as possible.
At times, you may simply need the help of a coworker to handle a problem; however, there will be times when complaints should be directed to your immediate supervisor. If this is the case, speak with your supervisor and explain the problem as thoroughly as you can. If you took notes while listening to the complaint, show your supervisor the notes. Situations that should be reported to your supervisor are as follows:
- Problems with Medication
- Problems with Insurance or Billing
- Health-Related Issues
- Severe Emotional Issues
- Problems with Other CNAs, Nursing Staff or Physicians
4. Always Inform Patients of Your Plans
Finally, always inform your patients of what you plan to do to solve their problems. If you can solve their problems on your own, tell them what you are going to do to correct the issues. If you need to get the help of a coworker or supervisor, let them know that you will do so right away. After talking to your supervisor about complaints, let your patients know that your supervisor will handle the issues as soon as possible.