If you have an acute or chronic disease, your health care provider may initiate patient and caregiver teaching process to help you and your caregiver (significant other or family member) understand your condition.
Patient/caregiver teaching is an interactive nursing intervention intended to help you gain skills and knowledge related to your disease, so you can manage it more successfully. This type of education also involves a change in your behavior and attitude to improve or maintain your health.
Patient and caregiver teaching provides you and your caregiver the means of participating in your health care management and helps make a difference in your life.
Sixty to seventy deaths in the United States annually occur due to chronic illnesses. Whether you will learn to adequately manage your health problems and maintain quality of life depends on what you learn about your illness and how motivated you are to follow-up with what you’ve learned.
Research shows that patients who are willing to learn and understand the importance of the teaching (including how to manage their medications and to follow-up with their health care providers) are 30 percent less likely to be admitted or readmitted to hospital than patients who did not have this training.
The Goal of Patient/Caregiver Education
The main goal of patient and caregiver teaching is health promotion and prevention of disease. Other aims of patient and caregiver teaching involve the management of disease and appropriate selection of treatment options.
If you have acute or chronic health problems, teaching can help you start a positive change in your behavior and improve understanding of your health care needs, therapy, and the importance of adherence to medical treatment. This should enable you to better manage your condition and more effectively cooperate with your caregiver and health care provider. In short, patient and caregiver teaching can prevent health complications and promote self-care, recovery, and help you stay independent.
Patient/caregiver teaching is intended for patients who would benefit from increased understanding and knowledge of their health condition and therapy. This type of education is also needed where the patient needs to improve skills necessary for safe and efficient health care and to foster a positive attitude and stronger motivation for disease management.
A Teaching Plan
Patient teaching is a process that uses a combination of methods such as counseling, instruction, and behavior modification. It can be planned or informal experience. If you have a specific learning need about health management or promotion of your condition, your health provider may need to develop a teaching plan.
This plan involves:
- Assessment of your needs as well as your ability and willingness to learn
- Identification of challenges that teaching can improve
- Teaching goals
- Teaching interventions
- Evaluation of the effectiveness of the teaching
However, every interaction with your health provider and a caregiver is a teaching opportunity. Patient and caregiver teaching can result in a permanent change in your motivation, attitude, and behavior, and lead to an improvement in your disease management and quality of life.