We teach patients new things every day. Whether its signs and symptoms for them to observe, information about a new medication or the purpose of a test or treatment, teaching and educating are important aspects of what we do.
A recent study shows that even independent, cognitively intact adults retain less than half of the instructions they receive in the hospital, and nearly half of the information retained is incorrect. It’s important that we don’t assume patients fully understand what they’ve been told or shown. The patient might not even be the right person to receive teaching. Many patients may not be the person cooking meals of managing their medications. Untrained, unpaid and unsupported, family members often take on complex tasks like, medication management, monitoring vital signs and care coordination. Families and caregivers need to be incorporated into teaching and training because they can supplement the patient’s understanding and improve the patients potential with compliance.
One of the easiest ways to close the gap between what the clinician says and what the patient hears and understands is the “Teach Back” method which is also known in Missouri as the “Show-Me” method.
With the teach back method, staff shares information and verifies whether patients and families understood what was taught. This is done by asking them to explain the information staff provided in their own words or by demonstrating the care or treatment.
Here are a few examples of ways you can begin the teach back conversation with your patients:
- I want to be sure I explained everything clearly. Will you repeat what you heard.
- What will you tell your husband about the changes we made to your blood pressure medicines today?
- We’ve gone over a lot of information including what you can do to include more exercise in your day. In your own words, please review what we talked about. How will you make it work at home?
Now it’s time for you to “Show-Me”.