Fire hydrant of information

Home Echo Discussions Module 2 Discussion Fire hydrant of information

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    Listening to this conversation reminded me of something I often heard before PA school, “The information will come at you like a fire hydrant spewing water, and you have to drink what you can.” While that is a helpful metaphor for the vast amount of information that is covered in medical programs, it is not a good goal for a patient education session.

    I believe that the social worker did a great job of addressing that the patient did not receive sufficient information previously, and this likely assuaged some of his frustration up front. She also gave a great deal of information about options for the patient, some of which may have been overwhelming for the pt. I think a better approach would be to ask open-ended questions to start, then narrow in on what the patient’s biggest concerns are in order to address those directly. I think this is more of the “interpretive” (shared decision-making) model than the “informative” model (as per Dr. Atul Gawande’s Being Mortal), where I prefer the interpretive model over the informative model.

    If focusing moreso on the giving of information, I think there are tools to improving the absorption of information. In preparing for that conversation knowing there will be a discussion regarding a multitude of options, I think a visual would be helpful. This could be a visual within the office that you can point to, or a patient education handout. Offering the patient a pen and paper to take notes with would also allow the patient to summarize information in their own way to better digest and remember later on.

    Despite this, the patient was able to hear about a variety of options that he wasn’t previously aware of, and is now better informed as to possible next steps.

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