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KMID : 1039620160060020124
Korean Journal of Family Practice
2016 Volume.6 No. 2 p.124 ~ p.135
Dealing with the Difficult Patients of Korean Family Doctors
Yang Hui-Ho

Baek Jung-Hoon
Lee Mi-Ra
Yoo Sun-Mi
Jeon Young-Jee
Park Seung-Guk
Abstract
Background: Doctors can experience negative emotions when dealing with difficult patients. Since family medicine involves holistic treatment, it is important to maintain flexible doctor-patient relationships and use positive approaches to manage difficult patients. This study attempted to identify the types of difficult patients and patient-management strategies used by Korean family medicine doctors.

Methods: We surveyed 6,692 board-certified family and resident doctors belonging to the Korean Academy of Family Medicine in February to March, 2014 via e-mail. Four percent of the questionnaires?obtaining information about geographic characteristics, difficult patients, and doctor-patient communication?were returned and responses of 270 physicians were analyzed using frequencies and percentage.

Results: Difficult patients comprised 10.3%. Difficulties included unresolved repeated complaints; aggressive, verbally abusive, and rude patients; and difficult and vague diagnoses. The coping methods employed by doctors were empathy, non-judgmental listening, patience, and referral to seniors. Doctors reported experiencing regret, anger, and frustration after treating difficult patients, which they attempted to relieve through cognitive restructuring, engaging in their favorite activities, and consultation with colleagues.

Conclusion: The types of patient-related problems faced by Korean family-medicine doctors and their coping methods did not differ significantly from those in other countries. However, further studies on sharing bout experiences with difficult patients, developing coping models, and ways to relieve negative emotions is necessary.
KEYWORD
Difficult Patient, Physicians, Family, Physician-Patient Relations, Communication
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