Teaching the Patient
- Assess understanding of:
- Reason for admission
- Condition or diagnosis
- Current medications
- Begin teaching medications and condition
- Use teach-back methods (discussed in Module 3)
- Health literacy
A fundamental role of the DA is to educate the patient and family so the patient is able to safely care for himself or herself after leaving the hospital. Most hospitals have written material available about various diseases, conditions, and surgical procedures and expect the staff nurse assigned to the patient to provide this material and spend time reviewing it with the patient at discharge. Often this review time amounts to providing the material shortly before the patient leaves and assuming the patient and family understand it.
The re-engineered discharge program begins teaching the patient soon after admission. The DA's daily visits are used to assess the patient's understanding and to initiate teaching.
Beginning early allows for a more deliberate, organized approach toward patient education while addressing language and cultural barriers. Most importantly, by starting patient education at admission, the DA can use the entire length of stay to assess and increase the likelihood that the patient understands the information.