Educate and Empower

Unless you plan on going home with your patients or clients and handling their daily medication regimens, reading their glucose meters, changing the dressing on their wounds, and going over their personal calendars to see when its best for them to schedule surgery, you are going to need to educate and empower your patients/clients and their caregivers to do these things for themselves. These simple tips can help:

  • Be direct about the importance of health literacy by saying to your patients: “The more you can understand about your health, the better off you will be”
  • Discuss the importance of good communication and encourage the patient to:
    • Speak up when he or she doesn’t understand
    • Correct any misinformation
    • Ask questions
    • Be as truthful as possible — and because lying is so automatic, let them know it’s okay to go back and correct the record
  • Ask your patient/client how s/he best learns (i.e. through reading, talking or visual example), and use this method as the main way you communicate.