One of the competencies case managers need to work on daily is being an educator. As case managers, we care for people of all ages, backgrounds, and cultures. Education must be geared to each person. In addition, people have different learning styles, such as; audio learners, readers, those who learn by example, and those who use their experiences to learn.
Taking the time to find out what type of learner you are can be the first step. When you know your learner type, you can explore other learning styles and how to reach your patients.
Educating patients and their families about chronic medical conditions and how the healthcare system works allows them and their families more control when navigating the system. When educated, people feel empowered to contribute and ask questions to help the team and themselves, allowing all to work together toward the same goals.
The missing link in improving care delivery is to include people (patients and families) in their care. We say we do, we read it in books and our standards, but it is not in actual practice.
As patient advocates, case managers must bring the people in as the central member of the healthcare team. We must ensure that we listen to our patients and that all healthcare members hear their voices. When we do this, we have better buy-in from the patient. They know they have a stake in the game when participating in their care.
Some tools that case managers can use to educate and empower patients are:
Take Charge Campaign: https://takecharge.care/about
Being Part of a Patient and Family Council: These organizations allow patients and families to have a say in how healthcare systems deliver care. Studies have shown that patient-centered care leads to lower healthcare costs. The collaborative approach between patients and the healthcare team results in improved confidence in the diagnosis, which reduces and sometimes eliminates costly tests and specialist referrals. Patient and Family Advisory Councils can be in any setting. Here is a link to a blueprint if your organization is interested in starting. https://www.aha.org/system/files/media/file/2022/01/alliance-pfac-blueprint-2022.pdf
The Care Partner Project: has various resources that case managers can use to educate their patients on many topics. They are free to download and use in your practice. https://thecarepartnerproject.org/about
There used to be a saying that the role of the case manager is to work themselves out of a job; by empowering and educating the patient and the family, we allow them to take control over their lives, which is what is lost when someone becomes ill or is injured.
How are you doing in educating your patients? This article gives you some insights into how education can help you engage your patients so they can be their own best advocates.
If you have an example of how educating your patients helped you set better goals and achieve the outcomes you are striving to accomplish, let me know, and I will share it in a future article.
Have a good week!