We are in the midst of a paradigm shift from a sick care model to a health care model. Nurses (and all other health professionals) are helping patients learn to share the decision making aspects of their care and learning to assume responsibility for their own health status and outcomes.
This is a complicated process and a new role for nurses; especially those who are accustomed to doing for the patients. This often stems from time constraints that prohibit nurses from teaching patients. It's just easier to do it yourself. But as we move towards patient responsibility, patient education becomes much more important. Preventative care and reducing the risks and complications posed by chronic illness have to be moved to the front of the line in order to reduce the staggering costs of health care.
I've come across a couple of great tool-kits this week to help nurses better understand and implement these processes. One is from Dorland Health . It focuses on empowering patients and helping them become part of the decision making process in their health care.
The other is a Teach-Back process from Iowa Health System and it is focused on helping to ensure patients understand what we are teaching them. Health care literacy is vital to the success of the health care model. If patients don't have a clear understanding of what's expected of them and how to maneuver through the health care maze, they won't succeed in assuming responsibility for their health care. And their outcomes will not improve.