Quick Facts

  • Patience refers to the ability to accept and tolerate inconveniences, difficulties or suffering without becoming agitated, upset or angry
  • Waiting is a complex cognitive and social task that can often be linked to frustration, irritation and anger
  • Linked to frustration, irritation, and anger

What does it
look like?

  • Difficulty tolerating wait times
  • Agitation/verbal aggression if not attended to quickly
  • Calling out and asking for help repeatedly
  • Difficulty with managing disappointment
  • A sense of urgency for immediate need to be met
  • Difficulty waiting for their turn to speak, often interrupting conversations or talking over others
  • Individual’s body becomes tense and may begin to sweat
  • Denial, anger and sadness at the losses which have occurred
  • Anxiety, nervousness
  • Rushing and impulsive decision making
  • Sudden outbursts of anger (i.e. yelling)
  • Lack of awareness of other’s needs (i.e. tasks, commitments, emotions, priorities)
  • When situation is unexpected or plans change it can trigger irritation, frustration and anger

Possible Causes and Complications

Possible causes:

  • Injury to the frontal lobes
  • Cognitive and executive function changes
  • Inhibition of behaviour
  • Lack of understanding of social skills and communication skills
  • Poor reasoning and problem-solving
  • Changes in emotional awareness and empathy (focused on their own needs)
  • Lack of awareness/insight of the impact of injury

Possible complications:

  • Changes to relationships, friendships
  • Rise in stress level, increase in blood pressure

What can we do?

  • Determine if there are possible triggers
  • Give person a time frame if you are not able to respond to their immediate need
  • Avoid making individual wait longer than needed, plan ahead
  • Inform individual quickly and clearly of what the plan is (e.g. “I just need to do this first”)
  • Clearly inform person when it is their ‘turn’
  • Have clear rules around turn taking (e.g. “Everyone gets a turn”, “We all get to have a say’)
  • Encourage and provide positive reinforcement for waiting
  • Provide reminders and cues during times of wait (e.g.” we are waiting for…, “it’s going to take time”)
  • Encourage the individual to develop self-calming strategies, relaxation techniques, and think positively
  • Establish routine, structure and predictability
  • Practice scenarios where things do not go according to plan

Disclaimer: This information is not meant to replace advice from a medical doctor. Consult a health care provider regarding specific medical concerns or treatment.