Patient Education Patient Education

  • Tailor educational interventions to be relevant to the learner.
  • Cardiac Rehabilitation Needs Assessment Tool may help identify patient priorities
  • Identify patients’ specific learning needs and work with them to set realistic goals
  • Identify the patients preferred learning styles, i.e. visual, auditory, reading/writing or kinaesthetic
  • Focus on the learning needs identified in your assessment; avoid overwhelming the patient with too much information
  • Reinforce learning through repetition in as many forms as possible, including written, video, audio, face-to-face
  • Use professionally developed written materials where possible
  • Provide opportunities for individual and group education
  • Seize the ‘teachable moment’ where an unplanned opportunity during an encounter seems the right time to educate
  • Consider evaluating the effectiveness of an educational intervention when planning an intervention
  • Include the following as outcome measures:
    • Knowledge
    • Behaviour change
    • Self-efficacy
    • Quality of life
    • Satisfaction
    • Healthcare utilisation
    • Unplanned readmission
  • Use the ‘teach-back’ method (see diagram below) to ensure the patient has understood the information. Teach-back involves asking the patient to tell you in their own words what they thought they heard. If there is a gap in understanding, ‘close the loop’ by showing or explaining again[#nielsen-ga-bartely-a-coleman-e-et-al.-2008]

Figure 1: ‘Teach-back’ learning loop


  • Nielsen GA, Bartely A, Coleman E, et al. Transforming Care at the Bedside How-to Guide: Creating an Ideal Transition Home for Patients with Heart Failure. Cambridge, MA: Institute for Healthcare Improvement; 2008