CONTINUING EDUCATION HELPS MEETING THE PATIENTS' NEEDSByDr
Choose an Appropriate Teaching MethodEducation can be delivered in many ways: Choose the method that is appropriate for the content and for the learning style of the patient and family. Foe example Individual Instruction may be ideal for continued assessment and technical skill training. Group Instruction may encourage peer-influenced learning. Small group of two to five people offer some of the advantages of individual learning. Medium and larger sized groups are usually unacceptable for skill training but can be appropriate for lectures and videos. Self-directed and self-study programs may be useful to teach cognitive and psychomotor objectives. Whenever possible, use a variety of media that will appeal to be the patient's learning style e.g., lecture, still pictures, motion pictures, television, audio recordings, text).Set Realistic ObjectivesLimit educational objectives to no more than four of the most important items. If additional objectives are necessary, schedule separate session. Objectives should be clear and meaningful to the individual.Limit Education to Short Teaching SessionsShort educational sessions (fifteen minutes or less) are proffered and should include breaks, repetition of important information, and ongoing assessments of knowledge as determined by questions and patient demonstration.To Change Health Behaviors, Focus on Behaviors and SkillsIt is needed to focus on action items for the patient and changing behavior that will lead to positive outcomes for patients. Patients may not need to know all the facts and principles that apply to the behavior; positive outcomes may be sufficient to cause behavioral changes. Similarly, a well-designed educational program can help to empower patients by involving them in the process of improving their own outcomes.Present Context FirstThe context is what the patient already knows; everyone learns better with a foundation for new knowledge. It is important to move from basic to more complex information to give the patient a positive sense of understanding and accomplishment. Consider that the patient is familiar with- for example, start with discussion of the importance of having energy to perform daily tasks and how the body needs oxygen to supply that energy before talking about topics that the patient may find unfamiliar.Partition Complex InformationDivide instructions into small, logical pieces. Health-related information can be overwhelming, and patients often are bombarded with information at a time when their ability to comprehend and retain it is impaired. As a result, a number of short educational sessions can often be much more effective than one lengthy session. Make Learning InteractiveInteractive learning greatly increases interest and recall. Clinical studies have shown that interaction causes a protein change in the brain that stimulates information retention and long term memory. Encouraging interaction will assist experience. Also, whenever possible, consider including a family member and/or caregiver in the educational session.Capitalize on Educational Opportunities When Patients Are Ready to LearnPatient's readiness to learn can be affected by how sick they feel or their ability to accept information at a given time. Similarly, the patient's emotional or physical state may also interfere with the educational process. Anxiety, physical discomfort, financial concerns, or an inability to understand the information being presented may make the learning experience unpleasant and ineffective. In contrast, a patient who just experienced a decrease in quality of life may be very receptive to information on what can be done to help improve outcomes. These guidelines offer a framework for the design of health instruction in any medium and for any audience.Evaluating and Continuing the Educational ProcessThen continually assess whether behavioral objectives are being achieved. The evaluation process should includea) measurement of the extent to which the patient has met the learning objectives,b) indication of any need to clarify, correct, or review information,c) notation of objectives that are not cleard) documentation of shortcomings in the process, (specially in content, format, activities, and media), and e) identification of barriers that have prevented learning from occurring.If the evaluation reveals that a desired behavioral change has occurred, then the behavior should be reinforced with ongoing educational reminders. When providing reinforcement, remember that educational interludes need not be formally scheduled to be effective. It is also important to document teaching and the patient response to record so that other staff members can follow through on teaching topics.ConclusionEducation provides patients with a knowledge base that empowers active participation in decisions about their own care and outcomes. To achieve desired outcomes, educational goals must be geared to the needs of the patient, with an educational plan that accounts for the learning style of the patient and potential barriers to the educational process. By continually educating patients about topics that important to them, can help patients improve outcomes, build positive attitudes regarding their treatment, and be more independent.