Introducing the second edition of the breakthrough book Healing Words: The Power of Apology in Medicine
by Michael S. Woods, M.D. One doctor speaking to other doctors and health care providers about how to provide the best possible care for patients--by actually caring about patients.
This powerful book helps health care providers understand and practice what to do after unexpected outcomes--to apologize. Michael Woods walks health care providers through the Five "R"s of Apology:
Recognition: Know when an apology is in order. Read the feelings of your patient and family--is there fear, disappointment, or anger regarding an outcome? Be aware of your own feelings. Analyze exactly what happened to cause these feelings.
Regret: Respond empathetically. Tell your patient you're sorry for what he's going through. Acknowledge the patient's disappointment, fear, and anger. Remember that saying I'm sorry doesn't imply guilt or fault on your part.
Responsibility: Own up to what's happened. Be accountable for the problem, even if it was unforeseeable. Disclose all details that lead to the outcome or complication and explain why it happened.
Remedy: Make it right. Explain to your patient what's being done to correct the problem. Evaluate how it will affect your patient's health and then begin appropriate therapy. Consider who will bear the cost of the error or complication--are there any costs you can absorb?
Remain Engaged: Be there for your patient. Reassure your patient that you will not abandon him. Focus on and provide for your patient's continuing care needs after the outcome or complication.
The book illustrates these concepts with true stories, anecdotes, and concrete evidence that sorry really does work. A compelling must-read for all health care providers today!