Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Basics Relating To Patient Education Handouts

By Shawn Hunter

Patients should be properly educated if they are to play an active role in the management of their medical conditions and diseases. If one understands why they are suffering from a certain condition and why they have to take a certain drug at particular intervals, they most likely will adhere to the instructions. Using patient education handouts is one of the strategies that has been adopted by many health centers in a bid to pass on important information in a cost effective manner.

The handouts vary in design depending on a number of factors. These include, for example, the type of diseases for which they have been designed, the age and social status of target clients and the exact message to be communicated. It is important that research is carried out to better understand the context so that the design settled on eventually creates the biggest impact.

When designing handouts for long term and terminal diseases the material that is selected must be durable. The same may be required for endemic illnesses where patient need to come to hospital during particular seasons. This may not be mandatory for acute illnesses where reference is often required just for a brief period of time.

Social status is important because more often than not, it has a bearing on the level of education. The idea is to reach out to as many clients as possible and for this reason you have to use language that is easy to understand. Technical terms should be avoided as much as possible and simpler alternatives offered. Just to have an idea of the level of education of your clients, you may have them fill some questionnaires.

Deliver your message in a brief and straight forward manner. Your patients are mainly concerned about being treated and may not have the patience to read through long explanations. Use short sentences that make sense. To make the outline easier to navigate, organize it into main headings with subheadings underneath. You may have short explanations below each of the subheadings.

Use pictures and illustrations to explain some points whenever you can. Not only will they pass the message across more effectively but they will also make it more interesting. You can design the images yourself if you have some skill or hire a medical illustrator. The pictures and illustrations chosen will depend on the type of target clients.

In most cases some information is lost or interpreted differently as time goes by. To minimize this, have the clients refer to your brochures as often as possible. The easiest way to achieve this is by using incorporating the message into items that are used frequently. For example, the brochures can be designed into calendars or bookmarks. Every time the client uses these items, they get in contact with your message.

These tools can also be used to the advantage of the health facility. Advertisements can be printed alongside the education material and most clients will not mind reading them as well. Some of the information that can be passed in this manner includes services that are provided within the center, contact address, other branches and so on.

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