Thursday, March 20, 2014

How Patient Education Handouts Can Help Prevent Disease

By Jaclyn Hurley

Progress in the medical field is made so fast that hardly a day goes by without some new treatment, medicine or procedure being discovered. People generally live longer and doctors can now treat illnesses that used to be a virtual death sentence. However, too many people still become ill simply because they do not take basic precautions and many ill people do not follow the advice of their doctors. That is why patient education handouts are so important.

One of the main objectives of educational pamphlets is to prevent disease. They can inform the public about the causes of various diseases and the factors that will have a negative influence on their health. General information about matters such as safe sex, the dangers of tobacco and related topics can also help to persuade people to make positive changes in their lives.

Many people are obstinate, ignoring symptoms until they experience such levels of discomfort that a visit to the doctor becomes inevitable. In many cases those symptoms were the signs of serious disease that could have been detected and treated if only the sufferer asked for help at an earlier stage. Pamphlets can do much to inform people about the symptoms typical to common diseases and this may lead to earlier diagnoses.

The abuse of medication is a serious headache for most health practitioners. People do not follow instructions and some people think nothing of even sharing their medication with others. In this field, too, educational pamphlets may prove to be valuable. People need to understand that the correct use of medication plays an important part in the maintenance of good health.

Most pamphlets, especially those issued by public health authorities are in a printed format. This makes sense because it is certainly no use to publish important information on the internet, for example, if a large percentage of the target group does not access to the internet. Printed material is easy to distribute and people are much more likely to read them and to even keep them.

Those responsible for compiling medical pamphlets should be careful to consider the intended target group. Many people will not understand complicated words and technical terms. In some cases it is best to use as many graphics as is possible. It is also a good idea to supply readers with references to material that can provide more detailed information on the topic covered in the pamphlet.

There can be no doubt that the distribution of information about health issues should be a high priority for everybody involved in the health services. Informed people are more likely to make positive life style changes. Also, more people may seek medical help in time and this can lead to a more effective health system because disease will be diagnosed earlier and this increases the chances of success.

Pamphlets addressing health issues should be made widely available, not just at clinics and hospitals. Many members of the target group will not visit a clinic or a hospital. Libraries, municipal offices, banks, and even shopping centers should serve as part of the distribution system. A healthier population is, after all, a more productive population.

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