To improve patient outcomes, healthcare providers must spend time offering health education to patients. Patient education is a process that influences behavior and produces the changes in knowledge, attitude, and skills necessary to improve or maintain health (Fereidoun et al., 2019). Providing education during discharge helps patients to understand their disease better and ways to minimize adverse outcomes. The patients get to learn factors that may make their condition worse and remedies to worsening conditions at home. Additionally, patient education creates trust and enhances the patient-nurse or patient-doctor relationship (Fereidoun et al., 2019). To understand the importance of patient education, I had an interview with my friend Danny who was recently discharged following hospitalization. The questions asked and the response given is discussed in this paper.
Did a patient education representative give you instructions on how to care for yourself after your illness or operation?
Danny explained that before discharge, a healthcare professional took the time to explain how to care for himself while at home. The professional talked about the importance of maintaining hygiene and keeping away from germs to prevent re-infection. The provider also educated Danny about his illness and that he might require regular checkups.
- Did a health care professional, pharmacist, nurse, doctor, or elder counselor advise you on your medication, diet, or exercise?
Danny explained that he was counseled on the aspects of taking medication, diet, and exercise. During discharge, the doctor instructed the type of medication to collect from the pharmacy and assigned a person to ensure the prescription was filled. He was educated about the dosage of medication, side effects, and how to deal with missed doses (Desai et al., 2021). For example, Danny mentioned that he was educated to take medication immediately after he remembered when doses were missed and to avoid taking medication twice if he missed doses. He was counseled about the type of foods to take during his recovery and those to avoid when taking medication. For example, the provider advised against taking alcohol and milk during the medication period. Regarding exercise, the provider advised Danny to engage in regular exercise to reduce weight and prevent excess fat build-up in the body.
- Who assisted you at home after your illness or operation?
Danny reports that he was assisted by his mother and sister during his illness. He reported that although the entire family participated in his recovery, his mother was most involved because she was always at home. She was keen to remind Danny to take his medication on time and kept in touch with the doctor asking for clarifications when necessary. The family helped provide the physical and psychological support required to conquer Danny’s illness. He believes their presence and prayer hastened his recovery while at home. Family is the closest person or caregiver who can help in activities of daily life. Research establishes that the family is critical in psychological adjustment following illness (Siregar et al., 2021). The family can also aid in ensuring medication adherence, especially for patients with chronic illnesses.
- Do you know of any assistance services, i.e., food, transportation, medication, that would help you stay in your home as you get older?
Danny reported being aware of transportation and food delivery services in his area that offered assistance to the elderly. For example, he explained to be using Magic Kitchen to order food for his grandfather because it accommodates dietary restrictions and serves meals at recommended proportions. He also acknowledged the programs available in his community to ensure older adults get to exercise including individualized exercise at home. Most people, whether elderly or not, tend to receive all kinds of services at home (Asadzadeh et al., 2022). In most countries, elderly services are widely available to ensure they get the best care without leaving their homes. These services also ensure the reduction of movement that could lead to injuries and hospitalization.
Asadzadeh, M., Maher, A., Jafari, M., Mohammadzadeh, K. A., & Hosseini, S. M. (2022). A review study of the providing elderly care services in different countries. Journal of Family Medicine and Primary Care, 11(2), 458. https://doi.org/10.4103%2Fjfmpc.jfmpc_1277_21
DeSai, C., Janowiak, K., Secheli, B., Phelps, E., McDonald, S., Reed, G., & Blomkalns, A. (2021). Empowering patients: Simplifying discharge instructions. BMJ Open Quality, 10(3), e001419.
Fereidouni, Z., Sabet Sarvestani, R., Hariri, G., Kuhpaye, S. A., Amirkhani, M., & Kalyani, M. N. (2019). Moving into action: The master key to patient education. The Journal of Nursing Research : JNR, 27(1), 1–8.
Siregar, C. T., Nasution, S. Z., Ariga, R. A., Lufthiani, Tanjung, D., & Harahap, I. A. (2021, April). The role and function of family caring for family members with chronic disease in medan. In AIP Conference Proceedings (Vol. 2342, No. 1, p. 120004). AIP Publishing LLC. https://doi.org/10.1063/5.0045438
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