Please enable JavaScript to access this page. Medicine And Fitness: Principles Guiding The Use Of Patient Education Handouts

Principles Guiding The Use Of Patient Education Handouts

Over the years, service healthcare service delivery has greatly improved in many countries all over the world. This improvement is attributable to a number of things. One of the reasons as to why this has happened is the increase in competition among the various players in the industry as each of them seeks to attract and keep their pool of clients. The other main reason is the recognition, by law, of various patient rights. Patient education handouts meet a legal requirement of patient right to information.

There are several types of handouts available; commercially available pre-printed ones and those that are made from the facility. Each of these types has its various advantages and disadvantages. Commercially available materials have the advantage of being readily available and can be obtained from a number of outlets. The main advantages include the fact that they are a bit expensive and may not convey the message as clearly as is intended. Those made in the facility are a bit labour intensive but can be customised depending on local requirements.

It is very important that you have your objectives clearly laid out from the start. You must know what your goal at the end is. For example, you may be planning to ensure that all clients clearly understand the conditions affecting them. If not this, you probably may be intending to encourage strict compliance with treatments that have been prescribed to them. Another common use for these materials is to influence behavioural change.

There are a number of factors that play a major role in determining the type of design that is to be used. One of the factors is whether the materials are meant for single use or for frequent reference. Also, if the patient will be required to give responses (feedback) through writing, for example, this should be planned for in advance. The designer needs to clearly know who the intended target is. This may be the entire patient population or just those with specific conditions.

The writing style chosen must be appropriate for the targeted group. Do not use medical jargon as this may confuse your reader or may not be understood altogether. If you use a technical term, ensure that a definition of the same is included. The recommendation is that one should use the second person when addressing the client and not the third person. This is because when the former is used, the client finds it easier to relate to the message.

Complex and long sentences tend to confuse readers and so you should avoid them. Choose simpler short sentences that are straight to the point. Words containing more than three syllables need to be reduced or removed entirely. When you are satisfied with what you have created, choose a few sample clients randomly to determine the ease with which your material can be read.

The language and the style that is chosen have to be in line with the education levels of the clientele. At times, there is need to conduct research to know the education level for the desired group of clients. In the event that this is not possible, then the simplest style is chosen. The content must be up to date and accurate.

Patient education handouts are an important tool in educating clients. They ease the burden on the healthcare worker and allow them to allocate less time for this exercise. They are particularly important in preventive medicine and should be adopted by any healthcare worker keen on making a positive difference.

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