Understanding Patient and Family Gratitude
Why do we show gratitude?
When someone makes a nice gesture, it’s natural to do something in return. This is why many of us write thank you notes, send a meal or help a friend who helped us, as a way to return the nice gesture.
The clinical experience is very similar. Day in and day out, caregivers strive to provide the best care to each and every patient. To a patient or family member, the care experience is not an everyday occurrence, it can create deep gratitude and the desire to say thank you.
How do we show gratitude?
Some may express heartfelt gratitude through a note, verbal expression or a hug. Others may want to do more by learning more about the caregiver’s work and supporting the care giving team in any way they can.
Our Response to Gratitude Matters
Warm responses to those that express gratitude create a positive experience. Common responses such as “no problem” or “I’m just doing my job”, may feel right, but in fact they dismiss gratitude and create a negative experience.
Potential Outcomes of a Positive Experience
Accepting gratitude and creating a positive patient experience can result in the following:
Gestures of Gratitude
Gratitude can begin in many ways…
- Positive Health Outcomes: an individual has a great experience and wants to say thank you
- Negative Health Outcomes: an individual experiences a tragedy or poor experience and wants to help so no one else has the same experience
- Personal Engagement: an individual makes a connection with a member of the care team
- Healing Process: an individual desires closure or to grieve