As physicians, we intuitively know that the more we educate patients and involve patients in their own care plan, the better their outcomes. However, despite our best intentions, we are faced with many barriers to accomplishing this.
Lack of time, inefficient educational materials and difficulty explaining complex information to a broad range of educational levels can become obstacles to educating your patients.
So, how do we overcome these barriers in order to have better patient outcomes? Let’s take a look.
Explore Each Patients’ Needs for Education
Each visit is an opportunity to create change through education, however first assess your patient’s level of understanding and ask your patient how much information they would like.
Some patients want to know everything and others want just the basics. Simply asking, “How much detail would you like?” is an easy step to take toward understanding what your patient needs.
Focus on a Topic – You Only Need Three Minutes
Make the time investment and spend at least 3 minutes per visit on a specific educational topic. Don’t try to cover everything.
Reviewing an educational handout is a simple way to review a topic and gives your patient something they can review at home.
Watch the patient’s body language to ensure that they understand you. If you sense your message is getting lost, stop, summarize and look for understanding.
Stock Your Office with Your Favorite Educational Materials
Try to refresh your office educational materials with new topics every three to six months. Use materials that are easy to understand and written at a sixth-grade level. Try for a variety of teaching materials so that every learning style is covered, including:
- Written (handouts)
- Auditory/visual (videos)
- Hands-on (model kidney)
The Socratic Method of questioning is an easy and effective method of teaching. We have used this method in our CKD education patient handout, “I Have CKD. Now What?” You can print it for your patients and use it as a starting point for discussion.
Get the Patient Education Material You Need
If you would like more information on CKD patient education, please contact us.
Raenali Publications is a leading provider of innovative, physician-directed patient education in the field of nephrology.