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Patient Teaching: the New Imperative

   It is the primary role of health care workers to inform and teach all of their patients. Patient teaching runs the gamut from primary care issues such as diet therapy, medication instructions, wound care, prescribed exercise and other issues of physical activities. The teaching role also focuses on informing the patient about their disease condition and recognizing signs and symptoms of any deterioration in their health status. It is well known that the cause of many patient’s return to a hospital is that the patient did not receive adequate teaching and care instructions before being discharged from a hospital stay. Readmissions drive up health care costs and often could have been prevented. A good patient teaching program in which teaching occurs at the bedside, is very important and health care organizations must insure these programs are in place. Of all health care professionals the nurse has always assumed the role of the patient’s primary teaching. Today, other health care professionals such as pharmacists are also coming to the bedside and teaching patients directly. This team approach helps insure that patients are learning all that they can to be compliant with their treatment plans and prevent relapses in their condition from occurring.

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