10 steps to de-escalate emotionally charged healthcare situations


It’s a scenario that any practising physician will be familiar with. You get a call that a patient or family member is “very upset” or “angry” about something. I’ve written previously about this topic and some basic communication techniques for dealing with this.

Most times, the physician who is going about their busy day will be completely taken by surprise by whatever the complaint is. They will be summoned to speak to the patient or family totally out of the blue.

The request, usually from a nurse, may