Question: Patients continue to come to the office without proper face coverings. We tell them on the phone prior to their appointment that masks are mandatory. What is the best way to handle those who do not follow the rules in place?
You are not alone. The pandemic has created a need for changes in protocols and has also created a space for people to question whether or not they feel the rules apply to them. Good communication with your patients is your best defense against the rule breakers.
1. Get the word out! Use social media, email, text, phone calls to let patients know the changes they can expect when they come for their next dental appointment. Be specific about what is required of them and what will happen if they are not compliant.
2. Lend an ear. Oftentimes, patients just want to be heard. Maybe they are feeling overwhelmed and anxious and those emotions come out as anger and frustration.
3. Use the feel, felt, found strategy. “We understand how you feel. Many of our patients have felt the exact same way you do! What we have found is that by increasing our infection control requirements we are providing the safest environment possible for our patients and our team”.
Your increased precautions have been put in place for the well being of everyone in the practice. Be consistent in that message and confident when presenting it. If someone is not willing to comply, they may need to go somewhere else.