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Improve the Patient Experience by Teaching Medication Side Effects

Released: 11/2/2021 6:00:00 AM


Understanding medication side effects and actions to take are vital to a satisfactory patient experience and are key components of patient safety and quality of care. Instruction should be specific and include how to manage common side effects, when to call the VNA, when to call the physician, and when to go to the emergency room.

Strategies to improve patient understanding include:

  • Use the term “side-effect” in your teaching
  • Follow the Kiss Principle – Keep it simple!
  • Slow down the pace of your speech
  • Avoid vague terms and medical jargon
  • Involve the family to help reinforce information provided
  • Limit information – focus on 1 to 3 key points and repeat as necessary
  • Provide short explanations of common side effects
  • Discuss specific patient behaviors if side effects occur
  • Use patient friendly educational materials to enhance learning
  • Use “teach back” to ensure understanding
  • Allow ample opportunity for questions