I’m Kate Dewhirst.

I’m a lawyer who writes about legal issues affecting healthcare in Canada

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Wow. I wasn’t expecting that! Managing volatile situations in health care

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Health care organizations of all shapes and sizes deal with volatile situations involving patients (or clients or residents) and family members or caregivers.

Remember this case from last year of the woman at a health clinic who was yelling racist comments about wanting to see a “white doctor” and getting increasingly angry that only “brown doctors with brown teeth” were available?

How can you prepare your team to respond to such a situation?

Today I spoke with a group of health leaders and we explored their views on the top triggers that ignite volatile situations in their teams. They said:

  • Wait times: Waiting to get an appointment, waiting for a referral or waiting in the waiting room to be seen
  • Prescription disputes: Arguments over narcotics, prescription renewals, or disputes over whether antibiotics are needed
  • Treatment disputes: Disagreements over the need for care or urgency of care or the recommended plan of care
  • Impaired individuals: Individuals who show up for appointments under the influence of alcohol or illegal drugs
  • Privacy disputes: Family members being denied information about their loved ones for privacy reasons

We discussed proactive and reactive tools  to manage these disputes.  These ideas may be helpful for you in your health leadership role:

  • Culture: Always work on and invest in your organizational culture of respect and kindness – to prevent issues from arising in the first place
  • Discuss: Share examples of unusual situations – like the video above – with your team and talk about how you would respond if that happened
  • Survey: Survey your team members about the issues that bother patients and their families – then consider ways of proactively addressing any information gaps that contribute to that dissatisfaction. Such as, creating a brochure or video or poster that is available in your waiting areas.
  • Resilience: Build resilience in your team – through mindfulness and de-escalation training techniques

 


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Some of Kate’s recent and upcoming events

Team Privacy Training Events
October 16, October 24 and November 21

For Primary Care clinics, Children’s Aid and FHTs

Kate trains health professionals from many more primary care organizations how being privacy-respectful can improve therapeutic relationships. More details...

Speaking event October 23, 2019

Osgoode Professional Development – Mental health Certificate

Kate joins the faculty for this training event. More details...

Primary care webinars: Managing Incapacity & Consent to Treatment

Part of Kate’s monthly webinar series.

Our October webinar is about managing incapacity, and the November title is Consent to Treatment.
Full details of the 2020 webinar series and registration here.

Advanced Privacy Officer training
December 10, 2019

For experienced Privacy Officers within healthcare organisations.

This one day training course focuses on how to handle difficult privacy situations using real-life (but anonymized) case studies and role-play. Full details and registration here...

Privacy Officer training
January 20 & 27 and February 3,10 & 18, 2020

Kate is the program chair for the Osgoode Certificate in Privacy in Healthcare.

This program explores the range of privacy interests that must be protected in the day-to-day treatment of patients, the development of information systems and the creation of institutional policies. More details...

Free healthcare privacy webinar - ask me anything!
October 2, November 6 and December 4

Free webinars - advance registration needed

Whether you're an experienced privacy officer or new in the field, pick Kate’s brain for free for an hour, in this live webinar. No charge, but you’ll need to register in advance.

Kate Dewhirst Health Law

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