Good medical patient education will help improve the patient’s understanding of medical conditions, diagnoses, and diseases. Regular medical communication also compels a patient to comply with physician recommendations and improves the outcome of treatment.
A medical assistant with good medical patient education skills identifies and applies proper written and verbal communication to instruct patients in good health and wellness, nutrition, hygiene, treatment and medication, pre- and postoperative care, body mechanics, and personal and physical safety.
Health is the overall mental and physical state of a person and the absence of disease. People in good health control risk factors that can harm them. Some negative health effects can happen to people who smoke, drink, use drugs, or perform extreme sports.
Smoking – Smoking can cause many health complications, including cancer.
Drinking – Drinking can cause liver damage, and in some cases, brain damage. Binge drinking can lead to blackouts, memory loss, and anxiety. The long-term effects of drinking may be serious mental health problems, including dependency.
Drugs – Drug abuse can cause altered brain chemistry, health complications, infections, legal issues, financial problems, and accidental injuries.
Extreme Sports – Involvement in extreme sports is a risk factor for broken bones and brain swelling.
Wellness refers to the state of being in optimal mental and physical health. Wellness involves physical, intellectual, emotional, interpersonal, and spiritual wellness.
Physical Wellness – Physical wellness includes exercise, eating well, and practicing safe sex. Physical fitness helps fight illness and disease.
Intellectual Wellness – Intellectual wellness includes critical thinking, curiosity, and learning new things. Intellectual wellness can prevent the onset of disease. Learning new things and challenging the mind can stop many mental health problems.
Emotional Wellness – Emotional wellness means being confident, having good self-esteem, building trust, and being empathetic. Having good emotional wellness means that a person is good at dealing with stressful situations.
Interpersonal Wellness – Interpersonal wellness involves having good communication skills and the ability to establish healthy relationships with friends and family.
Spiritual Wellness – Spiritual wellness has to do with developing compassion, forgiveness, and caring, as well as having a sense of purpose in life.
Good nutrition can help reduce the risk of some diseases, reduce high blood pressure, lower high cholesterol, improve well-being, fight off illness, recover from illness or injury, and increase energy levels. Tips for eating well include eating fruits and vegetables, whole grains, lean meats, and other sources of protein. Some of the complications of poor nutrition include
Heart Disease – This is a disorder of the vessels of the heart, when an artery becomes blocked, preventing oxygen and nutrients from getting to the heart.
Diabetes – Diabetes means complications in producing insulin. Insulin opens the body’s cells to allow glucose to enter.
Stroke – A stroke causes damage to the brain from interruption of its blood supply. It can cause muscle weakness and speech difficulties.
Cancer – Cancer is a disease in which abnormal cells divide uncontrollably and destroy body tissue.
Osteoporosis – Osteoporosis is a condition where bones become weak and brittle from the lack of absorption or replacement of bone tissue.
High Blood Pressure – This can cause heart disease and a stroke if left untreated.
High Cholesterol – High cholesterol can cause an aortic aneurysm, a heart attack, peripheral artery disease, or a stroke.
Good hygiene is important to promote good health. Poor hygiene can be a result of various conditions, including depression. Some personal hygiene habits include washing hands, bathing regularly, brushing and flossing teeth, visiting the doctor periodically, and getting good sleep.
Wash Hands Regularly – Washing hands involves the use of soap and water or an alcohol-based sanitizing gel to prevent the spread of bacteria and viruses. Good times to wash hands include after going to the bathroom, before preparing food, and after coughing or sneezing.
Bathe Regularly – The body is constantly shedding skin, and if not washed off, can cause illness. Washing the body and shampooing the hair is important to remove waste and stay healthy.
Brush and Floss – Brushing and flossing multiple times a day cannot only help you keep your teeth intact, but minimizes the bacteria in your mouth, as well. Increased bacteria can cause tooth decay and gum disease. Flossing promotes healthy gums and removes the bacteria buildup that can cause heart disease.
Visit the Doctor – Checkups are important for good hygiene in order to catch any problems before they become serious.
Get Good Sleep – Lack of sleep can cause a person’s body to become rundown and compromise the immune system.
The medical assistant must educate patients on treatments that will be performed so they better understand the consequences of their actions. Whether the treatment is routine or with potentially threatening consequences, the medical assistant must inform the patient properly.
For instance, the effects of cancer on the body can be extreme while undergoing chemotherapy. This may be a deterrent to smoking, drinking, and other health risks patients take that may cause cancer in the body.
Not taking care of one’s diabetes—another example—can cause foot and hand numbness, damage to the liver, extreme fatigue, lowered immune system activity, and susceptibility to disease and infection and may cause blurry vision. Proper education with respect to both treatment and illness can motivate patients to improve hygiene, practice proper nutrition, and get regular exercise.
The medical assistant or pharmacist will want to build a strong relationship with the medical patient by providing resources that patients need to understand and engage in their own care plans and ensure the safe use of medicine.
Proper Warnings – Governmental agencies, including the FDA, issue warnings for specific medications that may have elevated complications. The medical professional prescribing these medications should include information about these warnings and work with the patient to decide on the options for choosing different medicine.
Proper Dosing – Many medications come with a pamphlet explaining the proper use of the medication, when to take the medication, and whether to take it with or without food. The medical professional will want to reiterate proper dosing so the medicine is administered properly and doesn’t cause any complications.
Drug Interactions – With the help of electronic health records, medical professionals have an easier time identifying negative drug interactions between multiple medications.
Side Effects – A patient should be aware of the side effects of a medication and specifically when a side effect is dangerous. Many side effects are minor, but in a few cases, the patient may experience life threatening side effects. The medical professional is responsible for educating patients so they can be prepared.
Pre- and Postoperative Care Education
The education of a medical patient before and after a surgical operation is essential. Preoperative care is important to increase the success of the surgery. This may include not eating or drinking anything before a surgical procedure. The patient’s physical stamina must also be identified to make sure that the patient can recover properly from the procedure. Preoperative care includes also the education and minimization of risks and complications of the procedure.
Postoperative care includes postsurgical monitoring and testing of vital signs, pain assessment, and comfort. Postoperative care involves any additional information about prescribed drugs, special dietary restrictions, and details of follow-up appointments, as well.
Body mechanics refers to the way a person moves during everyday activities. Good body mechanics will prevent issues from arising and will protect the body from pain or injury. Some body mechanics include posture for walking, lifting objects, carrying objects, and sitting.
Having good body posture will protect the spine and make sure it goes properly through the midline of the back, giving the back stability and controlling the movement of the spine. Good body mechanics should be used in
Walking – Keep the back straight, and avoid slumping while walking.
Lifting an Object – Make sure your feet are apart in a standing position, while keeping your back straight. Bend at the hips and knees, and not at the waist. Lift the object using your arm and leg muscles, and do not use back muscles.
Carrying an Object – Hold the object close to your body, and do not carry anything that is too heavy.
Sitting – Sit in a chair with a straight back that offers support to your lower back. If there is no lower back support, use a pillow or rolled towel to support your lower back. Do not sit for long periods of time, and get up and change positions as often as needed to avoid causing strain on the back and neck. If sitting at a desk, adjust the monitor so it is at eye level, and make sure your feet are placed flat on the floor.
Are you interested in helping to educate medical patients and keep them healthy throughout their lives? Ready for a rewarding career as a medical assistant? The Medical Assistant program at Hunter Business School prepares competent, entry-level medical assistants in the cognitive (knowledge), psychomotor (skills), and affective (behavior) learning domains required for professional practice.
Contact us today to find out more on how to become a medical assistant on Long Island.