Clarity: The Importance of Patient Education
One of the most important components of hyperbaric therapy is providing complete and informative patient education. Simply speaking to patients about risks and benefits alone doesn’t constitute thorough education or ensure that the patients understand their responsibilities. It is also necessary to educate patients on the importance of maintaining both good nutrition and hygiene, as they both have a direct impact on patient safety, health, and healing ability.
When possible, encourage a family member to participate in the patients’ education. This can be a great way to encourage patient compliance. Family members are often times the only source of encouragement patients have aside from health care providers. Be clear when educating both the patients and their family members about safety measures.
As a CHT/safety director, I have an obligation to provide the safest environment possible for both the patients and staff in the clinic. Hyperbaric patients also have an obligation to both themselves and the clinic staff to comply with all aspects of the instructions provided to them. One of my goals is to encourage patients to take ownership of their health and their care to achieve their goals towards healing.
Always provide exceptional hyperbaric patient education. This lends the CHT credibility and demonstrates his or her competency and commitment to patient safety. This, in turn, gains patient trust and confidence in both the CHT and clinic.
One great example of providing good patient education is on the use of the air break line and mask. Don’t just hand the air break line and mask to the patient and send him into the chamber. The purpose of thorough patient education is to properly inform the patient of what the equipment is and how it works. The patient needs to be familiar as well as competent with the air break equipment. When teaching the patient how to properly use the air break equipment, instruct him to take two breaths from the air break line. Confirm that the mask creates an adequate seal and that the regulator provides proper air flow to the patient. This will ensure patient clarity and confirm that he has been prepared for treatment with adequate education and safety training.
Final Note: Don’t cut corners with patient education. It’s absolutely crucial for us as care providers to take the time and properly prepare patients for all aspects of the treatment they are about to receive.