In 2021, healthcare has become a rapidly-changing industry. Digital advancements have transformed almost all aspects of healthcare, including payment structures, government regulations, and even nurse-patient relationships. However, given the increasing healthcare concerns, patients now seek more affordable healthcare plans and expect more personalized care. Besides, they further seek to take more control over their actions/decisions affecting their health.
Patient empowerment is a recurring topic in healthcare due to its greater significance and influence on treatment outcomes. Several researchers suggest that patients who feel empowered tend to develop positive behavioral health practices throughout their treatment plan. It further increases the probability of positive treatment outcomes. As nurses are the primary caregivers in most medical settings, it’s their responsibility to empower patients and allow their active participation in healthcare decisions. In this article, we’ll discuss some ways through which nurses can empower their patients.
5 WAYS NURSES CAN EMPOWER THEIR PATIENTS
1. Improve Patient’s Education
Educating patients helps them to understand more about their health status. It further enables them to identify and deal with the factors that cause diseases. That way, patients feel more engaged and serve as active participants in dealing with their healthcare issues. Perhaps, some of the common ways to improve patient education include
- Discover what your patient already knows and correct any misinformation
- Provide them with the necessary information regarding the disease after every encounter from the time of their admission
- Use visual resources and layman’s terms to make the information comprehensible for them
- Inform patients about the possible signs and symptoms associated with the disease
- Improve patient’s understanding regarding medication and how the expected outcomes throughout the treatment etc.
Educating patients about their health issues isn’t an easy task and requires the right skills and knowledge regarding patients and the prevalent diseases. For this, most hospitals encourage nurses to continue education for improved patient care outcomes. Many advanced education programs, such as an online master of science in nursing, equip nurses with the right skills to promote health literacy, patient empowerment and develop personalized treatment plans for patients.
2.Promote self-care through data-driven practices
Nurses can implement data-driven practices to promote self-care among patients. Many healthcare experts believe that providing data-based instructions is one of the most effective strategies to promote self-care among patients. The strategy is specifically helpful in controlling the rate of chronic illnesses that usually develop due to patients’ unhealthy lifestyles.
However, some common self-care practices include taking a healthy diet and proper medication, getting enough sleep, following routine exercise, etc. These self-care practices ultimately develop positive behavioral outcomes among people and make them more accountable for their health.
3. Foster Open and Transparent Communication
Patients have the right to access any information relevant to their illnesses and treatment. So, nurses can empower them by improving patients’ access to essential clinical information. Since most of this information isn’t available in easily readable formats, nurses can inform their patients about their health status through effective communication. This includes active listening and nonverbal communication and using a more personalized approach in patient care. It is worth mentioning that in the current times, patients expect healthcare staff to remain open and transparent when communicating their health issues. Transparency educates patients, comforts them, and enhances their participation during the treatment process.
2. Promote Telehealth Services
Telehealth and telemedicine have revolutionized the healthcare industry and empowered patients to seek medical assistance even from remote locations. It is a new cost-effective method that helps patients to access quality care through online healthcare portals. Moreover, telehealth services have enabled patients to deal with minor ailments via immediate consultancy. Patients can now access their medical reports and schedule in-person appointments with their doctors under extreme conditions.
3. Encourage Wearable Gadgets
Wearable gadgets allow patients to monitor their blood/sugar/cholesterol levels easily. It enables them to analyze their medical condition and assess when they require professional assistance. For instance, a patient can note his or her increased cholesterol level to take the required medicine. Some devices help diabetic people monitor their glucose levels. In contrast, other devices like fitness trackers provide essential physical activity guidelines to patients to adopt healthy practices. That way, patients feel in charge of their health.
Encouraging the use of wearable gadgets among patients further helps in gathering and managing their health records. In certain cases, these healthcare records can be used to devise their treatment plans.
An informed consumer engages more effectively with service providers. So, all industries have directed their endeavors towards educating their customers. And hospitals aren’t an exception! Empowering patients improves patient outcomes and increases their satisfaction. Care delivery is a shared responsibility, and patient outcomes won’t improve unless they feel accountable for their health. Since the right information enables patients to make correct medical decisions about their healthcare, nurses can implement the strategies mentioned above to empower patients.