Patient education is a very important aspect of treating the patient. Not educating a patient about their care and providing direction for understanding leaves the patient at risk of having complications. These complications can cause unnecessary admissions to the hospital, an increase in medication costs and financial burden to the patient, family and insurance company. Educating the patient is a simple and effective way to prevent these complications and also thwart any new diseases from occurring.
What is Patient Education?
Patient education is the process of providing verbal or written material to the patient to improve understanding and prevent complications. Patient education offers an understanding of the disease process and instruction about behaviors and activities to assist the patient. Providing patient education can result in improved long term outcomes which can lead to better coping and decision making skills. Patients who have a strong understanding of their disease or illness are much more likely to recover fully and not have repeated setbacks.
The Benefits of Patient Education
When patient education is done and is successful it can benefit many different parties. Most of all, the patient benefits with the result of better health and an improved understanding of how they need to live to continue to have good health. However, the medical staff, health care facilities and insurance companies also benefit by having a reduced number of unnecessary hospitalizations and ER visits. That fact ultimately impacts and benefits all taxpayers (state and federal).
Prevention is Worth an Ounce of Cure
Patient education offers a way to control a disease before it gets out of hand. For example, by educating a family about how to live healthy and avoid fast foods while exercising you may be able to prevent obesity. Once obesity occurs there are a host of other medical issues that can go along with it. There are even many surgical procedures that offer to help reduce the weight of the obese patient. However, simply offering patient education to the patient could have prevented this. Many people report that they would have tried to maintain the weight had they have been fully aware of the detriments.
A patient should keep in mind that knowledge is power, thus education is powerful for the patient. It will ultimately enable them to take control of their lives and live exactly how they want to live. However, not every patient is taking advantage of using education to their benefit. Some patients still do not advocate for themselves and their health by heeding a physicians warnings and following advice. This is an unfortunate fact that will undoubtedly cause problems in an already taxed medical system.
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