Making Contact

Initial contact                               

When speaking with a patient for the first time, trust and rapport will be at different levels depending upon how well, if at all, you know them. To help develop a rapport, you can:

  • Be prepared, calm and give due time;
  • Create a safe environment where trust can flourish;
  • Remember names and key facts;
  • Demonstrate empathy;
  • Suspend judgment;
  • Be congruent

So calling your patient for the first time from reception or a noisy environment may not be the best way to develop rapport. Trust will follow once the rapport develops and the patient knows that you will deliver on your promises and have their best interests at heart.

This first contact may be in one call or you may wish to deliver the key messages over a few calls.  These early opportunities are to introduce yourself and pass or gather information with the patient including;

  • Their GP feels that they would benefit from being reviewed by a team of specialists;
  • Give your direct dial number (or by pass number if you do not have one). This is for them or someone who cares for them and should not share it with anyone else;
  • Regular contact to see how things are going and if feeling unwell, please call me directly;
  • Do they have any friends or family they would like to give permission for you to speak with?
  • Make sure you have the correct details for the patient and carers, (and enter the necessary changes on EMIS);
  • If they have problems or delays with services to let you know to see if can help;
  • You will do as much as you can but sometimes there are processes which must be followed.

Maintaining contact

Keeping regular contact is a vital component of the role as it helps identify as early as possible if a patient is deteriorating in their health.  This information can be passed to the patient’s GP who can assess if anything needs to be done to help the patient.

Over time, the frequency of contact will naturally develop.  If you are familiar with your patient we recommend contact with your patient once a week for the first three weeks and then it depends on the patient, agree with your patient thereafter how much contact you will have. Do not forget to update EMIS where required.

Managing disagreements

Sometimes your influencing skills may not work and you will need to come to a common agreement or be better placed to resolve something which has gone wrong.  This may be the patient, a carer, or possibly a service provider.  Here is a 9 step approach to help you come to an agreement:


Patient leaflet

The patient should be given the ECP500 leaflet as it outlines what ECP is details what information is shared and why this is. We would suggest downloading the leaflet as and when it is required as it is likely to be frequently updated.