The aim of patient education is guiding patients on improving their health and wellness. When you have understood your patients’ requirements and preferences, you can start planning an effective patient education programme.
To achieve the desired goal of enhancing patients’ wellbeing, you need to choose the right education materials that answer all their doubts and concerns regarding any health condition. How do you ascertain what they need to know?
Put yourself in the PATIENT’S’ shoes
Firstly, assess the patient’s existing knowledge about the disease or condition. For example, if you diagnose someone with HIV/AIDS, he/she may already know that the disease is deadly and doesn’t have a permanent cure. However, your goal, in this case, can be to make the victim aware of the therapy options to consider, self-care instructions, community resources available, etc. If you are suggesting a specific procedure, share a document on how to prepare for it, what to expect before, during and after the treatment, and the possible risks associated with it.
Include the most relevant information for the patients
Secondly, ask yourself the following questions –
- What should the patient do and why?
- Which tests or procedures should he/she expect in the near future?
- Can any problems crop up? What steps should be taken if they do?
- When can results be expected?
Answering these questions will give you the content you need to share in the education material.
Choose the appropriate patient education materials
Thirdly, depending on the patients’ comfort and learning ability, you can choose to create one or more of the below to get started.
- Brochures and other printed documents for ready reference
- Posters and charts
- YouTube videos, podcasts, and DVDs
- PowerPoint presentations
Extra tips for patient education:
- Keep patients’ concerns in mind. Gauge their fears and try to clear their misconceptions, if any.
- Know their culture and literacy background as you develop the content.
- Set realistic parameters for learning. Some patients may not want to know everything about a particular illness; stick to what they need to know.
- Ensure the information is presented in a clear, concise manner with illustrations, graphs and images wherever necessary for better comprehension.
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