The Teach Back Project: A System-wide Evidence Based Practice Implementation

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Abstract

Purpose:

Teach-back is an evidence-based strategy identified as a cornerstone intervention for improving communication during healthcare encounters. Evidence supports the use of teach back with patients and families to improve understanding of discharge instructions and supporting self-management. There is significant evidence that staff do not routinely use teach-back while communicating with patients and families.

Design and Methods:

This evidence-based practice project examined the impact of a brief educational intervention for a multidisciplinary staff on knowledge of health literacy and the use of teach-back during patient-education. Clinical staff working at a 290 bed Magnet® designated Midwest pediatric healthcare organization attended a 45–60 min, standardized, instructor led interactive teaching session about the impact of low health literacy, the use of open ended questions and how to use teach-back with patients and families. Pre and post education surveys, and a one-year sustainability survey were administered.

Results:

Over 300 multidisciplinary team members (including acute care, emergency room, and surgical nurses, dieticians, respiratory care practitioners and occupational and physical therapists) participated in the education and surveys. Both nurses and non-nurses demonstrated increased knowledge of the teach-back process and reported high rates of clarifying information and correcting misunderstandings when using teach back with patients and families. Qualitative data revealed clarifications are often about medications and skill-based treatments.

Conclusions and Practice Implications:

Teach-back is a valuable strategy that can improve the safety and quality of health care and supports the National Action Plan to Improve Health Literacy.

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