Registered Nurses' Association of Ontario

Interventions to Assist Patient to Cope

  • Listen to the patient’s concern even if you don’t understand.
  • Ask the patient to tell you what the problem is, and LISTEN sincerely.
  • Recognize and acknowledge the patient’s right to his/her feelings.
  • Sit down if possible (maintain safety) and invite the patient to do likewise.
  • Invite the patient to talk in a quiet room or area where there is less of an audience and less stimulation.
  • Apologize if you did something that inadvertently upset the patent. Acknowledge feelings (not reasons) and state that it was unintentional.
  • Let the patient suggest alternatives and choices.
  • To maintain patent and staff safety, have adequate personnel available for crisis situations.
  • Speak in a calm, even, non-threatening voice. Speak in simple, clear and concise language.
  • Use non-threatening non-verbal gestures and stance.
  • Be aware of language, hearing, and cultural difference.
  • Assure the patient that she/he is in a safe place and we are here to help.
  • Recognize your personal feelings about violence and punishment and how it affects you when a patient is violent.
  • Be aware of how other staff positively interact with angry patents and model their interventions.
Clinical Management
Promoting Safety: Alternative Approaches to the Use of Restraints
Point of Care Resources