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Understanding The Teach-Back Method

Drastically improve your patients’ understanding of their care!

In all settings, and particularly home care, effective health education is necessary. Far too often, patients are discharged from hospitals and other facilities lacking valuable understanding of essential material.

Health literacy is the “capacity to obtain, process, and understand basic health information and services needed to make appropriate health decisions.” Inadequate literacy increases cost and usage associated with health systems. Poor health outcomes are also increased. Thus, it is fundamental to consider a patient’s health literacy level and, in turn, gear instructions and information respectively.

According to recent statistics, a patient immediately forgets approximately 40% to 80% of information relayed. Moreover, nearly half of the retained information is incorrect. The Teach-Back method oftentimes proves helpful in bridging the gap between patient-provider communication and comprehension. It allows the provider to confirm that the patient grasps pertinent information: the patient is able to regurgitate the information back to the educator in his or her own words.

Furthermore, patients actually prefer this method to others that have been utilized. Studies have shown that this method noticeably improves self-care habits and disease-specific knowledge for patients suffering from chronic illnesses.

To clarify, this procedure does not “test” a client’s knowledge, but, rather, how well a concept was explained. This mechanism may also provide insight into which communication strategies are most often misunderstood.

Not all situations may be appropriate for implementing the teach-back method. So, when is this technique most useful? When a patient is struggling with directions, “Teaching-Back” allows him or her an opportunity to mentally arrange and classify directions, giving order to the operations.

More information is available here.

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