As clinicians, we are in the relationship business. We will be more successful in our efforts to help patients meet their goals when we have built a healthy rapport and a trusting relationship with patients and their families. Sometimes we can get so focused on the treatment plan and execution of our goals that we forget the importance of the foundation of a great relationship.

Here are some quick tips for building rapport with your patients and your families.

  1. Ask great questions
  2. Have a sense of humor
  3. Be honest when you don’t know something and assure them you will find an answer.
  4. Be empathetic and care about them.
  5. Find common ground
  6. Mirror them (body language)
  7. Smile when you see them
  8. Remember they are trying their best- be very specific about what parents can do at home to move their child towards their goals.
  9. Invite them to help you create functional goals.
  10. Create an environment where it is safe and welcomed to ask questions

These skills are essential to high-quality care and better outcomes for patients. Just like in any relationship you will find it is easier to “click” with some patients more than others. It may take times, but it is our job as clinicians to meet families and patients where they are and do the necessary work to build healthy bonds of trust and care.

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