To participate in their own healthcare, people need skills to manage their conditions, navigate the system and make care decisions. Yet many Canadians have low health literacy or may experience gaps in communication with their healthcare teams. Care transitions and engagement in hospital safety are more effective when patients and families are engaged in their own care, and communication between patients and their care teams is critical. Communication gaps can impact safety during hospital stays/visits and when people leave the hospital. Teach-back can help address this gap. It is a technique for healthcare providers and learners to ensure they have explained health information clearly to patients and families. Teach-back is considered a top safety practice and can bridge gaps in communication between patients and the healthcare team. At UHN, teach-back training is being rolled out across the organization as a strategy to ensure healthcare providers have the tools and skills they need to engage patients in their care. To demonstrate the impact of teach-back for patients, the Patient Education and Engagement (PE&E) Team started to engage Patient Partners in teach-back skills training in 2014. The goal of this partnership was to understand teach-back from a patient’s point of view and to demonstrate the impact of teach-back on patients, their self-care and safety. To make this teaching sustainable, in 2019 PE&E worked with 4 Patient Partners to create video vignettes for ongoing teach-back training use. To further build teach back into the culture, PE&E also developed a Patient Education Documentation Guide that helps care providers learn what and how to document health information shared with their patients through teach-back. Practicing documentation is included in teach-back training to strengthen awareness of how documentation can also contribute to safer care.
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