Thank you to Cacey Armstrong, LSW, Case Manager for putting together this post
The Basics: What is it?
Teach-Back is an evidence-based communication technique used to help patients remember and understand information. Asking a patient or their family member to explain in their own words what they need to know or do, in a caring way. Asking the patient, “Do you have any questions?” or, “Do you understand?” are not effective ways of making sure the patient knows what you mean. This communication technique can be used in any setting.
There are 10 Elements of Competence for using Teach-Back effectively:
- Use a caring tone of voice and attitude
- Display comfortable body language and make eye contact
- Use plain language, not medical terminology
- Ask the patient to explain back, using their own words
- Use non-shaming, open ended questions
- Avoid asking questions that can be answered with a simple yes or no
- Emphasize that the responsibility to explain clearly is on you, the provider
- If the patient is not able to “teach-back” the information to you correctly, explain again and re-check
- Use reader-friendly print materials to support learning
- Document use of and patient response to teach back
How Does This Affect Me: Patient Activation
The idea behind Teach-Back is making sure the resident (or patient) understands what they have been told. Patient Activation refers to a patient’s knowledge, skills, confidence, and willingness to manage his/her own health and care. We find a lot of families, and the resident themselves, are active in their health care. Teach-Back can make sure the resident understands what they are being told. If a patient is asking questions and understanding their care, the patient receives better care. When an Activation Level rises, individuals become:
- More adherent to medications
- More likely to get healthy and engage in physical activity
- More engaged with doctors
- Less likely to use the ER
- More present in the workforce and more satisfied with their job
Patient Activation is not more patient education. Giving the patient more paperwork is not always the best solution.
“The problem with communication is the illusion that it has occurred.” – George Bernard Shaw
Patient’s Experience has multiple factors:
- Level of health literacy
- Emotional response to the topic diagnosis
- Health status
Factors that come from the Health Care Provider:
- Use of medical terminology
- Limited time for discussion
- Amount of information to communicate
- Overestimating level of patient’s understanding
Teach-Back is important to us here at River Pointe because we are the mediators between doctors and residents. We utilize the 10 Elements on a regular basis. We want to maintain independence as long as possible, which means we want our residents Activated. We want them to ask questions and be as involved as they want to be with their own health care. It is important to us here at River Pointe to help our resident’s reach Patient Activation by utilizing Teach-Back.
Questions? Give us a call! (218-287-6900)
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