As healthcare professionals, we need to encourage our patients to get involved. How your patients go about getting involved in their healthcare will vary—some patients want to be fully invested in “everything” and others will be content with understanding the “big picture.” One way to help your patients is through education.
As patients become better educated, they will understand their illness and make decisions with greater confidence. Here are some recommendations on how to get your patients to be effective self-advocates.
- Encourage your patients to keep a medical journal. This can help them keep track of medications, important contact numbers, allergies, labs, and medical updates.
- Explain their diagnosis to them using simple terms. Remember, everyone learns differently. You may need to draw or use a prop to best teach your patients. Be mindful of varying educational levels.
- Encourage thoughtful learning through reliable sources. Not everything we read is true! Teach patients the difference between reliable and unreliable information.
- Be receptive to questions. Patients who have a lot of questions aren’t doubting your expertise, they just want to better understand what is occurring in their bodies.
- Encourage your patients to include family members or loved ones in their office visits if possible. Your patients’ circle of support is your best resource for compliance with a treatment plan.
Get your patients involved and see the difference. Active communication, transparency about their health, and family involvement lead to better outcomes from their decisions. This leads to a healthier and happier, more satisfied patient!
Raenali Publications® is a leading provider of innovative, physician-directed patient education in the field of nephrology.