Patient education, when done right, provides the information, support, and tools to better position patients and family caregivers for success.
They haven’t been to nursing or medical school, but modern-day health care nonetheless requires patients and their families to take on significant responsibility for overseeing important health issues at home. The difference between healing and readmission, even life and death, often rests squarely (and overwhelmingly) on their shoulders.
“As hospital stays and clinic visits get shorter,” said Susan Barnason, PhD, RN, professor of nursing practice at the University of Nebraska Medical Center in Lincoln, “the responsibility for patient management has increasingly shifted to patients and their families.”
Patient education, when done right, provides the information, support, and tools to better position patients and amateur caregivers for success. Dr. Barnason is the lead author of a new scientific statement from the American Heart Association on effective patient education. Published in the association's journal Circulation: Cardiovascular Quality and Outcome, the guidance is geared to enhance communication with patients and families affected by heart attack, high blood pressure, atrial fibrillation, or heart failure.
Nevertheless, the approach it advocates can be applied to those with a broad range of issues but who share a common need: meaningful instruction from the health care team on what they need to know to manage their health the best they can.