How to Advise Patients Who Intend to Refuse Vaccination of their Children

Posted July 23, 2015 by Stacy Bolzenius

How to Advise Patients Who Intend to Refuse Vaccination of their Children

In recent years, many parents have begun to question the efficacy, safety and necessity of childhood immunizations. Parents who attempt to research the subject may encounter anecdotes, poorly conducted scientific studies and websites with incorrect information, all of which may lead parents to refuse immunizations for their children. Knowing how to speak with patients about childhood immunizations can lead to increased success and higher immunization rates overall.

Speak Empathetically

Many people who refuse vaccinations for their child are attempting to act in their child’s best interests. These parents are concerned, involved and wish to take an active role in their child’s health and well-being. As a women’s health care giver, you too prioritize the best interests and needs of patients. Although your view points differ, you and the the child’s parent have the same priorities. Speaking with empathy and understanding can help bridge the gap between you and the patient.

When speaking with patients who are considering vaccination refusal, the following tactics can help you make an emotional and psychological connection with the patient:

  • Make eye contact during the conversation. Eye contact can show that you truly want to make a connection with the patient.
  • Show active listening. Patients who feel as if their viewpoints are being dismissed are less likely to listen to what you have to say.
  • Respond with patience. Avoid adding hints of of frustration through your tone and mannerisms, as this can create a distance between you and the patient.

Prepare Answers in Advance

Many parents who refuse immunizations share similar viewpoints and concerns. Knowing this, it helps to have a specific answer for each specific set of concerns. Study the reasons why many parents refuse immunizations for their children, and prepare your own responses. Rehearse these responses to ensure that you know and remember your role in the conversation when it takes place. Have literature on hand for parents who are concerned about immunizations, so they can have something to read and study from your side of the debate.

Prepare Answers in Advance

Keep the Conversation Going

When the patient refuses to continue the conversation, your ability to influence the patient’s opinions and ways of thinking will come to an end. Keeping the conversation going is the only way that you can influence their decisions. These tactics will help ensure that the conversation doesn’t come to an abrupt stop:

  • Answer all your patient’s questions thoroughly and honestly.
  • Be respectful of the patient’s point of view.
  • Speak with a combination of scientific and anecdotal evidence.

Looking for more information about this and other topics in women’s health? Attend our upcoming events. We’re now taking registrations for our Columbus Comprehensive Review September 19-26 & Our Annual Review of Obstetrics & Gynecology in Kissimmee, FL October 12-16.