Health literacy is the degree to which the individuals have the capacity for obtaining, processing as well as understanding basic health information and services that are needed for making appropriate healthcare decisions. Individuals who have high levels of health literacy are able to tackle their illness appropriately by undertaking interventions that help them to overcome their symptoms and signs (Peter et al., 2015). Often different healthcare factors like age, education, language abilities and even cultures can affect the degree of health literacy that are developed by people over their lifetime. Not every individual in the nation possesses same level of health literacy. Some of them have high level of knowledge about proper ways of taking care of health and the different lifestyle factors that can lead to poor health outcomes. However, many individuals do not have any ideas about how different lifestyle habits contribute to ill (O’Hagan et al., 2014). They undertake lifestyle factors and diet habits that make them prone to different chronic ailments. They also do not have ideas about how to access healthcare services and can harbor different negative ideas about healthcare systems. This assignment will show how undertaking correct communication approach can help in developing health literacy in patients and overcome conflicts.
Case study 1:
It is the duty of the healthcare professionals to help the patients develop the health literacy skills to enable them to modify their lifestyle factors and teach them effective ways of self-management and coping strategies. The patient of the case study is obese with high amount of body fat. This had increased the patient to poor cardiovascular health. Studies show that obese patients are more prone to cardiovascular disorders. Hence, it becomes important for the nursing professionals to communicate with the patient and educate him in ways by which his health literacy can be developed. This would help the patient to develop knowledge about his health conditions and follow advice of the nurse to protect his own health.
Different patients have different leaning styles. Therefore, the nurse would first need to know the proper learning style of the obese patient at first. Secondly, it is important for the nurse to stimulate the interest of the patient. Researchers are of the opinion that it is important for patients to understand why undertaking specific interventions are important. Therefore, the nurse should first establish rapport with the patient. She should ask and answer various questions and specific concerns of the patient. Health education can be provided to the patient in “teach back” method as well where the patient would repeat about what he had understood from the education given by nurse (Miller, 2016). Third, motivational interviewing can be also conducted with the patient. The patient would be discussed about the details of the disorder and then would be encouraged to identify his own improper lifestyle factors. This would help the patient to become encouraged and motivated by himself to take steps like dieting and physical exercises for healthy living and reduce risks of fatal disorders. Empathy and compassion should form the main basis of communication. Fourth, the nurse should also understand the limitation as well as strength of the patient while educating and encouraging him about lifestyle modifications that need to be done. This would help in enhancing the chances of success of better health outcome of the patient.
Teach back method is one of the leading patient strategies where nurses ask patients to repeat a concept, set of instructions as well as other healthcare information in their own words. This communication procedure would help the provider to confirm whether the client fully understood the exchange. Some of the communication aspects are to be followed. Firstly, basic language should be used with providing explanations of the complex medical terminologies. Secondly, nurses should speak at measured pace as speaking too quickly can prevent patients from following the conversation and can disrupt patient questions. Third, the patient should be asked questions to know that the patient has understood all information (Matusiz & Spear, 2014). The patient should be politely asked to reply back so that they do not feel that their knowledge is questioned. Fourth, the patient should be asked if she has any questions about the information rather than leaving it up to the patient to speak up. In this way the patient can be taught how to tackle his obesity and risks for developing cardiovascular disorders.
Case study 2:
This case study shows that the client does not have health literacy. This is said so because she is a blind follower of trends and does not accept the facts that are stated by the healthcare professionals. It is important for the patient to learn that no interventions, diet patterns and exercises can provide the same health outcomes and results on every body type of patients. Every patient has their unique body type and “one diet plan fits all” concept can bring out negative impacts on health. Celebrities might follow a particular diet that might align with their metabolic system and regular physical exercises but might not align with the lifestyle of the client. This might make her either stressed out or might not suit the metabolic system of the individual (Matziou et al., 2014). Therefore, these important information needs to be passed on to the client.
Communication and manner are of paramount importance to the healthcare professionals during the times of managing conflicts with the patient. During the time of negotiation of the solution, professionals should always use non-confrontational vocabulary. Researchers suggest that such verbalizations can help on clearing and clarifying the perspectives of the individuals in conflicts. Expressing feelings in a non-blaming way help in developing empathy with the patient but it might be difficult for a professional to show empathy when he is feeling negative about patients (Foronda et al., 2016). Therefore, professionals should identify their own emotions and thereby tune into emotional messages that the patient might be throwing. They should attend to non-verbal communication for developing empathy to the situation of the patient.
In the case study, the patient is agitated or confrontational. Therefore, in such situation, the professional needs to remain calm and speak politely in a soft voice that helps in diffusing emotions. Excellent communication skills help in de-escalating conflicts. The environment that the professional should develop must be safe and discussion should be non-judgmental (Hartog et al., 2015).
Firstly, active listening should be ensured. Professional should be giving the patient his or her full attention and use verbal prompts and non-verbal behavior like proper body language for encouraging the patient to share information. He should listen to the client and any probing should be done in open and gentle manner. He should confirm what the client has said through reflection and summarizing. Secondly, agreeing is the next part. Patients need to feel that they are being heard. Third aspect is acknowledging the feelings of the client. Researchers are of the opinion that reflecting the emotion back to the patient can demonstrate empathy. When professionals that they understand how the patient is going through a particular emotion, situation usually improves. Fourth, gradually developing rapport with the patient through effective informal communication helps in developing mutual trust and respect about the professionals. Therefore, the client in case study would then be discussed the different approaches of diet required for different people from different backgrounds and this will help her to overcome doubts and conflicts. Fifth, the nurse should use statements and words that make patients act as teams and work together without blame and judgment (Kurtz et al., 2016). Statements that demonstrate partnership help in establishing collaboration and develop trust on professionals. Hence, in this communication procedure, conflict can be resolved between professional and client.
From the above discussion, it becomes clear that nursing professionals need to be well aware of the communication procedures that they need to adopt in various cases of handling patients. Correct communication style helps in development of therapeutic relationship with patients, ensures development of trust and respect on professionals and positive outcome son health of patients. This helps in ensuring patient satisfaction as well as better quality life of patients.
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Kurtz, S., Draper, J., & Silverman, J. (2016). Skills for communicating with patients. CRC Press.
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