5 Reasons Patient Education Is Critical to Recovery

Illness and injury often take people by unpleasant surprise. Recovery from these illnesses and injuries is never easy for patients, especially if they do not know what is going on. However, educating patients about their conditions is a key ingredient to their speedy recovery. Education can be provided by any healthcare professional who is trained to do so. Educators need to provide culturally sensitive and accurate information in a way that is individualized to the patients’ needs. This benefits patients in many important ways.

Understanding
First and foremost, patient education increases the understanding of the patient. A patient who has knowledge about their condition and treatment plan is a patient who will be more able to recover quickly and completely. One example is the patient who needs back surgery to alleviate back pain. The patient might be reluctant to go through with surgery. However, when the patient sees his MRI scan, and it is explained to him exactly what the surgeon will do and how it will alleviate the pain, he will likely be more willing to go through with the surgery. Similarly, a patient who is taught to use crutches properly, is more likely to use them in a way that will not further injure himself.

Cooperation
A well informed patient is more likely to cooperate with healthcare professionals. They tend to follow instructions for treatment better because they understand what is going on and why treatments are needed. For example, when a patient is taught that antibiotics kill the bad germs he has and that the germs need 10 days to be fully eradicated, he is more likely to complete the course of medication. Since he cooperates with his prescribed treatment, he is more likely to fully recover.

Coping
The informed patient is best able to cope with their condition. This is most successful when the education is made pertinent to the patient. This can be seen in the case where patients get education that is individualized especially for them. Outcomes and recovery do appear to be more positive.

Empowerment
The patient who has knowledge feels empowered. Empowerment gives the patient a strong sense tht they can do whatever they need to do to get well. They have confidence in themselves when they have knowledge. Feeling this way helps them to follow instructions for improved recovery.

Less Relapse
Patients who have knowledge are less likely to get confused with their treatments. Thus, they are less likely to have repeated doctor visits and phone calls. For instance, a patient who knows to expect his stitches will dissolve or fall out will not call the doctor’s office in a panic because this is happening. It helps them improve recovery because, through their knowledge, they can manage their symptoms and healing.

Overall, patient education gives patients the satisfaction that they play a part in their health. Since becoming healthy is the number one goal, they benefit immensely. Knowledgeable patients are happy patients and happy patients are more likely to be healthy patients.

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