Important Factors of Patient Education
Patient health outcomes should be a joint decision making process in which healthcare teams and patients collaborate to reach a common outcome. Joint decision making offers a structured method to incorporate evidence as well as patient values and preferences into medical decision making (Grad et al., 2017). As an acute care nurse on a surgical floor, I strongly believe in collaborating with my patients to ensure the patients are discharged with all the resources they need and understand their current health conditions to improve their health.
I consider many of my patients to be the best source of information about their health conditions. They know their diets, physical capabilities, living environments, and daily life styles that the healthcare teams need to understand and develop plans to reach desirable patient outcomes. Although many patients collaborate with their healthcare team, there are several that choose not to follow given directions to improve their lives. For some, it takes a serious medical condition to change their habits.
One situation in which a patient and the interdisciplinary team attempted to collaborate with was a diabetic patient who was admitted for osteomyelitis associated with diabetic vascular disease. The patient underwent right foot amputation due to osteomyelitis. The vascular surgery team, diabetic educator, and I educated the patient on following his diabetes regimen and controlling his diet at home or his vascular disease will advance, leading to further amputations. Several months after his discharge, he was readmitted for a below the knee amputation (BKA). When I spoke to the patient, he stated that he did not follow the teams instructions and did not change his diet, but now that he had his BKA, he stated that he will now follow the guidelines provided by his team.
After this patient’s outcomes, I thought about why the patient did not follow the team’s instructions on controlling his diabetes. I thought that maybe our educational methods did not suit his life style and his needs at home. I spoke with our diabetes nurse educator and asked her if we should have approached the patient’s treatment plan in a different way compared to other diabetic patients. I thought maybe if we listened to his daily routines and diet, we could have formulated a patient specific diet plan, including the patient’s preferences and life values (Chester et al., 2018). After my experiences with this patient, I decided to listen more about my patients’ daily life styles and preferences rather than teaching them about basic diabetes guidelines.
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