Healthcare providers – ever wonder if your patient understands your instructions on taking medications, monitoring health or following up? These simple tips will help with communication, provider-patient or provider-caregiver!
1. Talk slowly & slow down.
To help foster a patient-centered approach to the clinician-patient interaction, minutes. Take time to explain and access understanding.
2. Use plain language, nonmedical language.
You are the expert; you are the provider, you spent money and time learning medical lingo. Tip – explain things to your patients like you will your grandma. Using plain language will make sure understanding by your patient and caregiver. Instead of using words in column A, use column B. See a comprehensive list of simple words and phrases by PlainLanguage.gov
Column A Column B
Analgesic Pain killer
Cardiac problem Heart problem
Contraception Birth control
Enlarge Get bigger
Heart failure Heart isn’t pumping well
Hypertension High blood pressure
Infertility Can’t get pregnant
Menopause Stopping periods, change of life
Osteoporosis Soft, breakable bones
Terminal Going to die
3. Encourage questions.
Prompt patients and caregivers to ask questions. Patients may be shy and/or apprehensive. They might not know what to ask. Make patients feel comfortable, ask open-ended questions such as, “tell me about blood pressure”, “tell me how and when you take your water pill”. Consider using the Ask-Me-3 program. Caregivers seems to be play a huge role in this area.
4. Use pictures, educational videos or inforgraphic.
Using visual images helps and can improve the patient’s recall of information, discussion and instructions
5. Use the “teach-back” technique.
Confirm that patients understand by asking them to repeat back your instructions.
6. Give small details of information provided— and repeat it.
Information is best remembered when it is given in small pieces that are pertinent to the tasks at hand. Repetition further enhances recall.
Remember, the use of plain language is the LAW!
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Sources 1. Plain Langauge – http://www.plainlanguage.gov 2. Get the *Why Use Plain Language* poster (thanks US Census Bureau) 3. The Health Literacy Site for the Federal Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA)
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