Why connection, and compassion, communication are the name of the game

Connection

  • We have a basic human need to connect with other people.  So often for people with persistent pain, their connection with others has been limited.  Work connections may have been severed.  Friends may have drifted away.  Relationships may have ended.  Loneliness can be rife.  So when we as healthcare professionals connect with someone, show compassion and hear their story, often it feels for them like a weight has lifted.  In our many years working as healthcare professionals with people with persistent pain, one of the most frequent things that people have been grateful for is a space to tell their story.
  • All too often in healthcare settings, we are in a rush. Demand outstrips capacity and there isn’t much time to listen.  Add to that a person with a long term pain problem, who has been on the treadmill of investigations, treatments and opinions for a long time, and maybe healthcare professionals have also felt burnt out or hopeless with how to try and help them.
  • Part of our ethos is to really take the time to listen.  We have lost count of the number of people who, when given space to explain to us what their pain journey has been like, have felt validated and empowered simply by us listening to them. It is strange but true that when people have been on this journey for many years that often they’ve never had the opportunity to have a conversation like that!

Compassion

  • We try hard to show the people that we work with compassion.  In the pre-COVID days when we could see people face to face, that often started with making them a cuppa!  Now more than ever we have to recognise the importance of how we are showing compassion – a welcoming facial expression, a friendly tone of voice on the phone, and body language even via a video call all tell a story – ‘we care about you and we are ready to try and help you.’
  • We try and practice what we preach too, and as a company, make sure we are taking the time to look after ourselves and the people who work with us so that we can offer an unprecedented quality of service.

Communication

  • In our experience, language and the way we communicate about pain are very important.  Above all, we want our clients to know that we believe they are in pain, and explain why that might be in an accessible and easy to understand way.
  • It’s important to be clear about how a pain specialist MDT can be different from what people have accessed before.  For example, people may have tried physiotherapy before, so we explain how pain specialist physiotherapy is quite different from traditional approaches.
  • Very often people feel suspicious about why a psychologist is part of a pain team and we understand the importance of explaining this clearly too.  Living with persistent pain is hugely stressful and we acknowledge that pain and stress can sometimes make one another worse.

Sometimes in business it feels you have to do everything faster, better and cheaper.  At Retraining Pain, we pride ourselves on doing it better, every time.  Contact us on [email protected]