How to be patient and take charge of your life

When I googled the meaning of patience, it said:

“the capacity to accept or tolerate delay, trouble, or suffering without getting angry or upset.”

I have always struggled to practise the art of patience in my life. Even though I know that when I am able to be patient, I always get a better result. Being patient is quite a simple concept to apply but for some reason, it can be so difficult to put into practice.

Practising patience helps you to better manage the curveballs that life throws at you. Patience also brings calmness, optimism, hope and confidence to your life.

“Patience and perseverance have a magical effect before which difficulties disappear and obstacles vanish.” — John Quincy Adams

The key message is quite clear – when you practise patience, you are more likely to lead a successful and happy life.

Why Being Patient Is Good for You

Patience is a great way to exercise self –control. When you are patient you are more likely to take charge of your life.

Here are three key benefits (there are many more) that practising the art of patience can bring to your life:

1. Better Decision Making

By learning patience, you will become better at making decisions. Patience gives you breathing space and therefore you are more comfortable with taking the time to assess difficult situations and reflect on how you wish to proceed.

You also develop more self- confidence and know that if you rush into making a decision it will not end well for you. The chance of making a big mistake is higher if your decision is made in haste.

2. A Well Balanced Life

By becoming more patient, you will greatly reduce the stress in your life.

Because you are more self-aware, you have a better understanding of what makes you happy and you will tend to focus on doing the things that bring you joy. The result of this is that you become more aware of how to live your life in balance rather than constantly have to fight fires.

3. Better Relationships

By becoming more patient, you are more understanding, open and flexible towards others’ mistakes and shortcomings. As a result, you are able to build stronger and longer-lasting relationships.

Patience does not come easily to many of us, especially when we live in a world of constant disruption and change. Patience is a mindset and it is not something that comes overnight. If you truly want to be a more patient person, you do have to be prepared to do the work. Embracing patience in your life is part of a life journey and therefor you must be willing to be in it for the long haul.

If you can accept that you are okay with stepping out of your comfort zone and that developing a patient perspective will not come instantly, then you are ready to embrace patience into your life.

So what can you do to become more patient and take control of your life?

How to Be More Patient

Outlined below are 3 practical techniques you can apply right now into your life that will help you be more patient and take charge of your life.

1. Understand What Triggers Your Feelings Of Impatience

The opposite of patience is impatience. Everyone has experienced the feeling of impatience many times in life – in fact, you can’t escape it!

For you to become more patient, it is important that you understand what triggers your feelings of impatience. What is it that you think about or feel right before you lose it? Once you know what triggers you, then you can work on using calming exercises to help you better manage those feelings of impatience when they start to build up.

Making yourself wait before you react, and practising deep breathing exercises are great techniques to help you manage those surging feelings of impatience. Counting to 100 under your breath is another technique to help you WAIT before you react.

2. Stop Doing Things That Are Not Important

We can get easily distracted and stressed when we are doing things that are not really important and are taking up a huge amount of time. One way of removing stress is to stop doing things that create more stress for you.

Take a few minutes out at the end of your day and reflect on the tasks you have done. Write these tasks down and then write down the tasks you have to do tomorrow.

Patience is about having a more positive and reflective perspective in life, so look at each of these tasks and decide which are top priorities for tomorrow and which tasks can wait for a few days. Then go do the important tasks. If you consistently practise this technique, you will slowly take back control over your life.

3. Work on Changing Your Attitude

A person who is patient is able to assess situations from a more positive perspective. They tend to accept a difficult situation as it is and will not fight it or avoid it. They will work with it and try to work on a solution that will enable them to move forward.

Patience is all about perspective and how you look at situations. If you miss your bus or are running late for a meeting and stuck in traffic, you have the choice about how you react. A patient person will work on putting a positive spin to the situation and try to reduce the tension that potentially could potentially build up.

Having a more impatient perspective on life is not going to serve you well. Impatience will block you from living life where you are in control.

Techniques that you could use that will help you have a more positive outlook on life are:

  • Visualization. Try to step ahead of the problem. Visualize yourself facing the problem and how you dealt with it and achieved positive outcomes.
  • Get active and choose activities that will help you release the stress and tension you are feeling. There are many things you can do such as yoga, walking, breathing exercises, and meditation etc. Choose activities that bring you peace of mind and commit to doing these activities on a regular basis.

Final Thoughts

Practising patience in your life will enable you to have more freedom of choice and as a result, have more control of your life.

If you commit to the journey of living a patient life, the rewards that you will reap will be unbelievable. Who wouldn’t want to live a flourishing life where you are in charge?

“the capacity to accept or tolerate delay, trouble, or suffering without getting angry or upset.”

I have always struggled to practise the art of patience in my life. Even though I know that when I am able to be patient, I always get a better result. Being patient is quite a simple concept to apply but for some reason, it can be so difficult to put into practice.

Practising patience helps you to better manage the curveballs that life throws at you. Patience also brings calmness, optimism, hope and confidence to your life.

“Patience and perseverance have a magical effect before which difficulties disappear and obstacles vanish.” — John Quincy Adams

The key message is quite clear – when you practise patience, you are more likely to lead a successful and happy life.

Why Being Patient Is Good for You

Patience is a great way to exercise self –control. When you are patient you are more likely to take charge of your life.

Here are three key benefits (there are many more) that practising the art of patience can bring to your life:

1. Better Decision Making

By learning patience, you will become better at making decisions. Patience gives you breathing space and therefore you are more comfortable with taking the time to assess difficult situations and reflect on how you wish to proceed.

You also develop more self- confidence and know that if you rush into making a decision it will not end well for you. The chance of making a big mistake is higher if your decision is made in haste.

2. A Well Balanced Life

By becoming more patient, you will greatly reduce the stress in your life.

Because you are more self-aware, you have a better understanding of what makes you happy and you will tend to focus on doing the things that bring you joy. The result of this is that you become more aware of how to live your life in balance rather than constantly have to fight fires.

3. Better Relationships

By becoming more patient, you are more understanding, open and flexible towards others’ mistakes and shortcomings. As a result, you are able to build stronger and longer-lasting relationships.

Patience does not come easily to many of us, especially when we live in a world of constant disruption and change. Patience is a mindset and it is not something that comes overnight. If you truly want to be a more patient person, you do have to be prepared to do the work. Embracing patience in your life is part of a life journey and therefor you must be willing to be in it for the long haul.

If you can accept that you are okay with stepping out of your comfort zone and that developing a patient perspective will not come instantly, then you are ready to embrace patience into your life.

So what can you do to become more patient and take control of your life?

How to Be More Patient

Outlined below are 3 practical techniques you can apply right now into your life that will help you be more patient and take charge of your life.

1. Understand What Triggers Your Feelings Of Impatience

The opposite of patience is impatience. Everyone has experienced the feeling of impatience many times in life – in fact, you can’t escape it!

For you to become more patient, it is important that you understand what triggers your feelings of impatience. What is it that you think about or feel right before you lose it? Once you know what triggers you, then you can work on using calming exercises to help you better manage those feelings of impatience when they start to build up.

Making yourself wait before you react, and practising deep breathing exercises are great techniques to help you manage those surging feelings of impatience. Counting to 100 under your breath is another technique to help you WAIT before you react.

2. Stop Doing Things That Are Not Important

We can get easily distracted and stressed when we are doing things that are not really important and are taking up a huge amount of time. One way of removing stress is to stop doing things that create more stress for you.

Take a few minutes out at the end of your day and reflect on the tasks you have done. Write these tasks down and then write down the tasks you have to do tomorrow.

Patience is about having a more positive and reflective perspective in life, so look at each of these tasks and decide which are top priorities for tomorrow and which tasks can wait for a few days. Then go do the important tasks. If you consistently practise this technique, you will slowly take back control over your life.

3. Work on Changing Your Attitude

A person who is patient is able to assess situations from a more positive perspective. They tend to accept a difficult situation as it is and will not fight it or avoid it. They will work with it and try to work on a solution that will enable them to move forward.

Patience is all about perspective and how you look at situations. If you miss your bus or are running late for a meeting and stuck in traffic, you have the choice about how you react. A patient person will work on putting a positive spin to the situation and try to reduce the tension that potentially could potentially build up.

Having a more impatient perspective on life is not going to serve you well. Impatience will block you from living life where you are in control.

Techniques that you could use that will help you have a more positive outlook on life are:

  • Visualization. Try to step ahead of the problem. Visualize yourself facing the problem and how you dealt with it and achieved positive outcomes.
  • Get active and choose activities that will help you release the stress and tension you are feeling. There are many things you can do such as yoga, walking, breathing exercises, and meditation etc. Choose activities that bring you peace of mind and commit to doing these activities on a regular basis.

Final Thoughts

Practising patience in your life will enable you to have more freedom of choice and as a result, have more control of your life.

If you commit to the journey of living a patient life, the rewards that you will reap will be unbelievable. Who wouldn’t want to live a flourishing life where you are in charge?

More About Happiness

  • How to Stay Calm and Cool When You Are Extremely Stressed
  • 32 Things You Should Be Grateful For
  • How to Deal with Anger (The Ultimate Anger Management Guide)

CamTrader brings you human interest articles from around the web to spice up your day. We hope you like it.

How to be patient and take charge of your life

When life becomes messy, how can you take charge of it? The task seems daunting — there are usually multiple factors that all intersect with each other, creating dissonance and a sense of fragmentation. But, as big as the task of taking charge of your life can seem, three basic practices lay the foundation for doing so.

Control Comes from Action

Taking charge of your life comes through action. To be pro-active means to be active — making a move. That move may be getting out of a situation that’s unhealthy, meeting a new friend, going to a new class, reading a new book, whatever it takes — anything you can do that is different. It’s the emotions that trap us in a rut, in unhealthy habits. Breaking habits requires, first and foremost, taking action. Making a change.

If you find yourself in a state of despair where it’s so dark that you think that there’s no way out, you may need to ask a friend or mentor to “kick you in the pants.” Ask for help and advice — doing so is a form of action in itself. A fresh set of eyes and a fresh approach can help — but, of course, only if you take action.

Examine Your Life

Where is your mind? What do you focus your thoughts on? The key, internally, to taking charge of your life is to examine it. Where are you headed? What are your objectives? What is your personal mission statement? Consider practical things that force you to take a look at yourself and not just go through the motions of your life.

Thoreau writes, “Most people live a life of quiet desperation.” Are we ready to just resign ourselves to just being an observer in life? To do damage control? To do the least and play it safe?

If you are having trouble examining your life, look carefully at why: Often it’s the result of fear, which paralyzes us and doesn’t allow us to look at ourselves. Are you afraid to be honest with yourself?

And Celebrate Life

Life is full of variables and ups and downs, tension and resolution. The key is to be able to look at life and embrace it — to celebrate it. Celebrating life means that you wake up in the morning and say, “I’m really excited about this life. I’m not looking over my shoulder all the time wondering who’s going to hit me next, or where the next curve ball will come from.”

Part of taking charge of your life is simply to accept imperfection and to learn to take life as it comes. How do you respond to the natural ebb and flow of life? Are you flexible and adaptable, or do small changes and transitions throw you off? Sometimes control means letting go — not to the extent that you are irresponsible, but by being able to ride the waves of life like a skilled surfer on the ocean.

Exercise: Think of an area of your life that you’d like to take charge of, and plan how you could use the three principle above to clean it up. Write about it in your MyMLC journal.

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Like any illness or disease, cancer can occur without warning. Many factors that increase your cancer risk are beyond your control, such as your family history and your genes. Others, such as whether you smoke or get regular cancer screenings, are within your control.

Changing certain habits can give you a powerful tool to help prevent cancer. It all starts with your lifestyle.

Quit Smoking and Using Tobacco

Quitting smoking has a direct effect on your risk of cancer. Tobacco contains harmful chemicals that damage your cells and cause cancer growth. Harming your lungs is not the only concern. Smoking and tobacco use cause many types of cancer, such as:

  • Lung
  • Throat
  • Mouth
  • Esophagus
  • Bladder
  • Kidney
  • Pancreatic
  • Certain leukemias
  • Stomach
  • Colon
  • Rectum
  • Cervix

Tobacco leaves and the chemicals added to them are not safe. Smoking tobacco in cigarettes, cigars, and pipes, or chewing tobacco can all give you cancer.

If you smoke, talk with your health care provider today about ways to quit smoking and all tobacco use.

Protect Yourself from UV Rays

The ultraviolet radiation in sunlight can cause changes to your skin. The sun’s rays (UVA and UVB) damage skin cells. These harmful rays are also found in tanning beds and sunlamps. Sunburns and many years of sun exposure can lead to skin cancer.

It is unclear whether avoiding the sun or using sunscreen can prevent all skin cancers. Still, you are better off protecting yourself from UV rays:

  • Stay in the shade.
  • Cover up with protective clothing, a hat, and sunglasses.
  • Apply sunscreen 15 to 30 minutes before going outside. Use SPF 30 or higher and reapply every 2 hours if you will be swimming, sweating, or outside in direct sun for a long time.
  • Avoid tanning beds and sun lamps.

Maintain a Healthy Weight

Carrying a lot of extra weight creates changes in your hormones. These changes can trigger cancer growth. Being overweight (obese) puts you at higher risk for:

  • Breast cancer (after menopause)
  • Brain cancer
  • Colon cancer
  • Endometrial cancer
  • Pancreatic cancer
  • Esophageal cancer
  • Thyroid cancer
  • Liver cancer
  • Kidney cancer
  • Gallbladder cancer

Your risk is higher if your body mass index (BMI) is high enough to be considered obese. You can use an online tool to calculate your BMI at www.cdc.gov/healthyweight/assessing/index.html. You can also measure your waist to see where you stand. In general, a woman with a waist over 35 inches (89 centimeters) or a man with a waist over 40 inches (102 centimeters) is at increased risk for health problems from obesity.

Exercise regularly and eat healthy foods to keep your weight in check. Ask your provider for advice on how to lose weight safely.

Get Regular Exercise

Exercise is healthy for all, for many reasons. Studies have shown that people who exercise seem to have a lower risk for certain cancers. Exercise can help you keep your weight down. Staying active may help protect you against colon, breast, lung, and endometrial cancers.

According to national guidelines, you should exercise for 2 hours and 30 minutes per week for health benefits. That is 30 minutes at least 5 days per week. Doing more is even better for your health.

Eat Healthy Foods

Good food choices can build up your immune system and may help protect you from cancer. Take these steps:

  • Eat more plant-based foods like fruits, beans, legumes, and green vegetables
  • Drink water and low-sugar drinks
  • Avoid processed foods from boxes and cans
  • Avoid processed meats like hotdogs, bacon, and deli meats
  • Choose lean proteins such as fish and chicken; limit red meat
  • Eat whole grain cereals, pasta, crackers, and breads
  • Limit high-calorie fattening foods, such as French fries, doughnuts, and fast foods
  • Limit candy, baked goods, and other sweets
  • Consume smaller portions of foods and drinks
  • Prepare most of your own foods at home, rather than buying pre-made or eating out
  • Prepare foods by baking rather than broiling or grilling; avoid heavy sauces and creams

Stay informed. The chemicals and added sweeteners in certain foods are being looked at for their possible links to cancer.

Limit Alcohol

When you drink alcohol, your body has to break it down. During this process, a chemical byproduct is left in the body that can damage cells. Too much alcohol may also get in the way of healthy nutrients your body needs.

Drinking too much alcohol is linked to the following cancers:

  • Oral cancer
  • Esophageal cancer
  • Breast cancer
  • Colorectal cancer
  • Liver cancer

Limit your alcohol to 2 drinks per day for men and 1 drink per day for women or none at all.

Have Regular Check-ups

Your provider can help you assess your risk for cancer and steps you can take. Visit your provider for a physical exam. That way you stay on top of what cancer screenings you should have. Screening can help to detect cancer early and improve your chance of recovery.

Some infections can also cause cancer. Talk with your provider about whether you should have these vaccinations:

  • Human papillomavirus (HPV). The virus increases the risk for cancers of the cervix, penis, vagina, vulvar, anus, and throat.
  • Hepatitis B. Hepatitis B infection increases the risk for liver cancer.

When to Call the Doctor

Call your provider if:

  • You have questions or concerns about your cancer risk and what you can do
  • You are due for a cancer screening test

Alternative Names

Lifestyle modification – cancer

References

Basen-Engquist K, Brown P, Coletta AM, Savage M, Maresso KC, Hawk ET. Lifestyle and cancer prevention. In: Niederhuber JE, Armitage JO, Kastan MB, Doroshow JH, Tepper JE, eds. Abeloff’s Clinical Oncology. 6th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier; 2020:chap 22.

TAKE CHARGE is not a diet, but a lifestyle modification program that empowers you to live a healthier life.

Meet regularly with your healthcare professional for nutrition lessons, body measurements, and progress tracking. Your provider will be there to guide you along your personal journey to better health.

Lose Excess Weight

Control Type 2 Diabetes

Reduce Blood Pressure

Lower Cholesterol Levels

Look & Feel Better

Are you interested in adding our valuable clinical services to your independent pharmacy?
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TAKE CHARGE combines health education and biometric analysis with lifestyle counseling from a healthcare professional.

Health Education

Learn how your body uses proteins, fats, sugars, and more! Understanding proper nutrition is key to making healthy choices your new, everyday routine.

Lifestyle IQ Analysis

Your progress will be monitored closely through regular body measurements such as weight loss, lab testing, bio-impedence readings, and more.

Professional Counseling

TAKE CHARGE is provided only by trained healthcare professionals qualified to answer questions, provide support, and guide you through the program.

Celebrating Over 25 Years

University-tested and proven to decrease the risk of lifestyle associated diseases in patients who adhere to the program.

Watch our welcome video to learn more about TAKE CHARGE.

Are you ready to TAKE CHARGE?

TAKE CHARGE includes the tools you need to replace old habits with new, healthy ones. You can expect to have more energy, increased alertness, higher productivity, and better rest at night. Live a healthier lifestyle with TAKE CHARGE!

“I lost 10 pounds in just 4 weeks!” – Texas Patient

How to be patient and take charge of your life

Technology is at the front and center of all of our lives. We use computers and mobile devices for everything from work and watching videos to ordering groceries and paying bills. Technology just makes our lives easier and Family Health Care of Siouxland believes taking charge of your health should be just as easy. Our patient portal, FollowMyHealth, gives you the ability to review information about your health and communicate with our office 24/7.

Why You Should Use Patient Portal

You demand access to your bank account, credit cards, service providers and more at the touch of button day or night. You don’t want to wait until 9 a.m. to pay a bill or email a service request. Your health should be no different. Patient portals like FollowMyHealth offer the same flexibility and ease. They are high-tech solutions to manage your personal health records. Our patient portal allows you to:

  • Review your medical records online in a safe, secure environment
  • Communicate privately with physicians via secure messaging
  • View test and lab results, and read medical notes from your doctor
  • Update your health information (allergies, medications, conditions, etc.)
  • Request Rx renewals
  • Receive email care reminders
  • Request or change appointments
  • Fill out and submit forms prior to appointments
  • Create proxy accounts for children or dependent adults
  • Set and track health goals
  • View and pay bills

How to Create Your Patient Portal Account

Creating an account is easy. You can sign up directly from our website by going to our Patient Online Services page and clicking the link Create Your Account to go to our Follow My Health site where you can sign up. Fill in your e-mail, name, date of birth, zip, phone and optional Social Security Number to get started. Once you create your account, you will be prompted to search for and connect with available providers in your area. You can also download the app and use FollowMyHealth right on your mobile device. FollowMyHealth is private and secure. All of the data is encrypted and you control who has access to your medical records. You can always ask our office to help create your account as well.

FollowMyHealth Patient Portal is Easy to Use

Our portal is user friendly and intuitive. You can see alerts, messages and request and appointment right from the home screen. Click on My Health to view detailed information about your health. Your physician will upload new information after each appointment. You can see messages from your doctor and send an email right from the portal.

It’s proven that patients who use a portal are more engaged in their care and enjoy healthier lifestyles and improved outcomes. Get started today!

Do you feel you are the most important part of the medical (health care team)?

In a recent post on Healthin30, “When Doctors and Nurses Work Together” I wrote about the team-based approach for caring and treating patients, and it addressed the relationship between nurses, doctors, patients and the importance of a multidisciplinary, team-based approach to patient care.

The health care team is comprised of a diverse group of specialized professionals, and the most important part of the medical team is the patient.

Subsequent to publishing this post, I received an email from an author and patient advocate stating that patients are not the most important member of the medical team.

I value and respect this comment; however I politely and passionately disagree. As a registered nurse and consumer health advocate, I emphatically say that patients are the most important part of the medical team.

As health care professionals engage their patients with empathy, we can make them feel valued and respected, and by listening and communicating effectively with our patients we can develop a treatment plan specifically around their needs. Patients are the center and the most valuable part of the team. We need to involve them in their care and understand that they are the integral part of the health care team. We need to encourage them to be a proponent of their own health care. We need to let them know that it is okay to ask questions and to take charge of their health. Patients may have some self-doubt about questioning health professionals. They may feel uneasy and perhaps they may have difficulty expressing themselves, but we can offer reassurance and continue to encourage them to be proactive.

My Colleagues Speak Out
I asked a few of my colleagues to weigh in on this topic. They are:

  • Elizabeth Cohen, CNN senior medical correspondent and author of The Empowered Patient”
  • Kevin Pho, M.D., primary care physician and founder KevinMD.
  • Donna Cryer, J.D., patient advocate, known as “DC Patient” and CEO of Cryer Health.
  • Carl R. Sullivan, M.D., professor and vice-chair of the Department of Behavioral Medicine and Psychiatry at West Virginia School of Medicine, Medical Director of Substance Abuse Programs at the West Virginia University School of Medicine in Morgantown, WV.

Patients Know Their Bodies And Their Illnesses

Patients know their bodies and their illnesses, and know when something’s gone wrong. Empowered patients can communicate changes and observations that can make a real difference in their medical care. To have their voices heard, patients have to speak up! This might sound obvious, but many times patients are intimidated, or sometimes bewildered, by the medical world around them. Also, it can be hard to speak up if the doctor or nurse is perceived to be rushed and ready to move on to the next patient. In ‘The Empowered Patient,’ I urge patients to realize there are times they absolutely have to advocate for themselves or their loved ones. Their lives, or the life of someone they love, may depend on it.

–Elizabeth Cohen, CNN senior medical correspondent and author of The Empowered Patient

The Patient Is The Biggest Stakeholder

It’s important for doctors and other medical providers to listen to the most important member of the health care team, the patient. After all, there is no bigger stakeholder. Involving the patient in the decision making process is essential, to both better the patient outcome and improve patient experience.

–Kevin Pho, M.D., primary care physician and founder of KevinMD

Patients Hold The Ultimate Responsibility Of Selecting The Right Team Members

Patients are the sine qua non of health care. Not without which there is no purpose of spending all this time, money and effort. Patients are the most affected by the success or failure of the medical team. Patients hold the ultimate responsibility of selecting the right team members, determining the primary objective based on their lifestyle and values, adhering to the treatment or recovery plan, and persisting, enduring until the team has reached the end of their work.

–Donna Cryer, J.D., CEO of CryerHealth and patient advocate, DC Patient

Patient Care Is At The Heart Of Everything We Do

Patient care is at the heart of everything we do, says Dr. Sullivan. He refers to this quote from Norman Cousins, 1989 that speaks volumes.

People go to doctors out of fear and hope — fear that something may be wrong, but hope that it can be set right. If these emotional needs don’t figure in the physician’s approach, he may be treating half the patient. The question is not now — any more than it has ever been — whether physicians should attach less importance to their scientific training than to their relationships with patients, but rather whether enough importance is being attached to everything involved in effective patient care.

–Carl R. Sullivan, M.D., director of addictions programs at the West Virginia University School of Medicine in Morgantown, WV

Your Turn — Do You Feel Like An Empowered Patient?
We would love to hear your insightful thoughts. Do you feel that you are the most important part of the medical (health care team)? What are your experiences? Do you consider yourself an empowered patient? Do you take charge of your health? Have there been times when you were afraid to speak up? Are you involved in the decision making process with your health care professionals?

Putting patients needs first and allowing them to be the focal point and at the center of the team will foster a better patient relationship and better outcomes. By being empathetic, listening and communicating and understanding that patients are the most important part of the team; health care professionals can create a treatment plan that correlates with patients needs. Every patient is the most important member of the health care team.

Please share your experiences so we can all learn to be better at what we do.

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TAKE CHARGE OF YOUR HEALTHCARE

CAPS Toolkit – Taking Charge of your Healthcare: Your Path to Being an Empowered Patient

Hospital discharge is a time during which patients and families are at their most vulnerable. There is so much information they need to know, just when they may be least able to absorb, remember and act on it. It is vital for members of the healthcare team to help patients leave the hospital with confidence, giving them the tools and information they need to make a smooth transition to their next destination. This toolkit, Taking Charge of your Healthcare: Your Path to Being an Empowered Patient , provides you with these tools. Hospital discharge is not an event; it is a process. It is a process that takes time and should be started upon admission, if not sooner. Healthcare providers should give the tools in Taking Charge of your Healthcare: Your Path to Being an Empowered Patient to patients and families as soon as possible. Plan time to discuss their contents and answer any questions, recognizing you may need more than one conversation to ensure understanding and readiness for discharge.

At the heart of safe discharge is clear communication and education for patients and families. Patients and families need to know:

  • The importance of prompt follow-up care
  • What to expect and what to do when they leave the hospital
  • How to plan for their immediate and longer-term needs

Patients also need to be empowered to talk to their healthcare providers when they feel intimidated, and they need practical strategies for getting the most out of conversations with members of the healthcare team.

Healthcare providers know that patients’ and families’ feelings of fear, anxiety, insecurity and uncertainty, combined with their compromised medical conditions, make communication and understanding especially difficult precisely when their understanding is so essential. Taking Charge of your Healthcare: Your Path to Being an Empowered Patient is designed to help providers help patients during this critical time.

Patients know they don’t feel well. They or their family members who accompany them on their care journey may recognize that they could use some help in working with the healthcare team to contribute to the safety and effectiveness of the process. This toolkit will help both groups achieve the safety they desire.

Elements of the toolkit are:

  • Staying Safe When You Leave the Hospital, a journal-like bi-fold booklet that guides patients and family members to collect their thoughts and ask the right questions. By using this tool, they will have what they need to know and do before leaving the hospital in an easy to use and update format. A cover page allows for the patient to record their thoughts and keep them private.
  • Talking to Your Doctor or Nurse, a handy list that gives patients and their advocates advice and tips for making the most of their conversations with their doctor or nurse, wherever such conversations occur.
  • The Emotional Side of Healthcare: Six Tips for Talking to Your Doctor, a trifold brochure presenting six strategies for coping with conversations that often feel stressful for patients and families. This can also serve as a reminder or educational tool for healthcare team members to raise their sensitivity to the emotional realities patients bring with them as they talk to their doctor or nurse.
  • The Emotional Side of Healthcare: Six Tips for Talking to Your Doctor, a condensed poster version of the brochure that lists the six tips for easy reference. A version highlighting the healthcare team is also included. Lastly this poster is being made available in bright colors (doctor and team versions) for posting in open patient areas and staff lounges.
  • Communicating with Patients and Families for Smooth, Safe Transitions, this short document explains how patients and families often feel during this stressful time, and how healthcare providers can open lines of communication. It can be used by hospital training personnel to lay a foundation for understanding if the toolkit is rolled out organization wide.
  • Glossary of Terms, listing of words our patient advisors suggested would be helpful for consumers to help them understand terms that may arise during the transition out of the hospital.

In addition, the toolkit is accompanied by a set of additional links that will expand on the materials developed for this toolkit. Lastly, the team that came together to create the tools are acknowledged and links to their organizations may direct you to other items of interest both specific to care transitions and other areas of interest.

Taken together, the pieces included in Taking Charge of your Healthcare: Your Path to Being an Empowered Patient will help patients and their families plan and work together with their healthcare team to ensure a safe hospital transition to follow-up care.

Learn proven tips and strategies to enhance patient teaching at your facility.

Patient education was once a job for physicians, but today’s nurses assume most of the responsibility for educating patients and helping them to become responsible for their own health status. For patients to take a proactive role in their own care, they need to comprehend their condition and work to prevent or minimize complications from any chronic illnesses.

Patient education needs to be comprehensive and easily understood. Nurse health educators must recognize that many patients are lacking in their inability to understand health care information and what they need to do with that information.

Tips to improve patient education

Preventing re-hospitalization is a huge responsibility, especially in consideration of costly penalties that are levied for early readmissions. To accomplish this, nurses need to constantly improve patient teaching and education prior to discharge. Some of the things nurses can do to advance patient education include:

  • Delegate more responsibilities to support staff and be more focused on patient education.
  • Begin educating patients with every encounter from admission.
  • Find out what the patient already knows. Correct any misinformation.
  • Feed patients information in layman’s terms. Utilize visual aids as often as possible.
  • Question their understanding of the care, and plan for the next lesson.
  • Use return demonstration when administering care. Involve the patient from the very first treatment.
  • Ask the patient to tell you how they would explain (step-by-step) their disease or treatment to their loved one.
  • Make sure the patient understands the medications as you administer them. Make sure they understand how and when to refill medications.
  • Provide patients with information about signs and symptoms of their condition that will require immediate attention.

Five strategies for success

Teaching patients is an important aspect of nursing care. Whether teaching a new mom how to bathe a newborn baby or instructing an adult who is living with a chronic heart disease, a successful outcome depends on the quality of the nurse’s instruction and support. Consider these five strategies.

  1. Take advantage of technology. Technology has made patient education materials more accessible. Educational resources can be customized and printed out for patients with the touch of a button. Make sure the patient’s individualized needs are addressed. Don’t simply hand the patient a stack of papers to read. Review them with patients to ensure they understand the instructions. Answer questions that arise. Some resources are available in several languages.
  2. Determine the patient’s learning style. Similar information may be provided by a range of techniques. In fact, providing education using different modalities reinforces teaching. Patients have different learning styles. Find out if your patient learns best by watching a DVD or by reading. A hands on approach where the patient gets to perform a procedure with your guidance is often the best method.
  3. Stimulate the patient’s interest. It’s essential that patients understand why this is important. Establish rapport, ask and answer questions, and consider specific patient concerns. For example, some patients may want detailed information about every aspect of their health condition. Others may want just the facts, and do better with a simple checklist.
  4. Consider the patient’s limitations and strengths. Does the patient have physical, mental, or emotional impairments that impact the ability to learn? For example, they may need large print materials. If the patient is hearing impaired, use visual materials and hands on methods instead of simply providing verbal instruction. Always have patients explain what you taught them. Often people will nod “yes” or say that they comprehend what is taught even if they have not really heard or understood. Consider factors such as fatigue and the shock of learning a critical diagnosis when educating patients.
  5. Include family members. Involving family members in patient teaching improves the chances that your instructions will be followed. In many cases, you will be providing most of the instruction to family members. Families play a critical role in health care management.

Teaching patients and their families can be one of the most challenging, yet also rewarding elements of providing nursing care. First-rate instruction improves patient outcomes dramatically.

Additional resources

For further resources that will strength your organization’s patient-teaching, let Lippincott Advisor help. Our best-in-class, evidence-based decision support software for institutions includes over 16,000 customizable patient teaching handouts and content entries.