Continuing Education and Professional Development

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In the last decade, research confirmed that low health literacy has negative effects. It is associated with poor chronic disease management, poor comprehension and adherence to medication regimes, increased hospitalization and poor outcomes.

Patient education remains an important focus at St. Michael’s because most patients are not able to understand the disease information they need. Effective patient education can improve patient safety, increase adherence to medication regimes, improve self-efficacy, lower the use of health services and ultimately improve outcomes.

St. Michael’s has adopted a proactive approach to tackling issues related to low health literacy and its impact on patient care. Based on evidence regarding effective interventions, the Patient and Family Education Program established three strategic directions to improve outcomes for those with low literacy:

Three strategic directions: 1) Improving patient journey, 2) providing evidence-based education tools and resources, 3) enhancing staff skillsSt. Michael's has adopted a proactive approach to tackling issues related to low health literacy and its impact on patient care.

This approach recognizes that in order for health literacy to improve, the hospital must reduce the health literacy demands of its health-care system, as well as provide support to meet the information needs of patients and families.

To implement these strategic directions, St. Michael’s invested in the following activities:

Activities: Opened Patient and Family Learning Centre, expanded capacity to educate staff members, and acquired and developed online librarySt. Michael's invested in key activities in order to address low health literacy.

 

Patient and Family Learning Centre: Access to resources in various formats

The Patient and Family Learning Centre (PFLC) provides access to resources to meet the varied needs of patients, families and visitors to the hospital. Staff and trained volunteers help visitors find reliable health information, including brochures, books, DVDs, audiobooks and online information, and they link patients and families to community resources, which can enable better care transitions and support recovery. At the Patient and Family Learning Centre, which opened in June 2011, patients can explore information at their own pace in formats that meet their needs. To expand the services of the PFLC, patient and family education racks have been added to more than 50 locations across the hospital.

The new vision for the centre is to transform it into a combined resource centre and teaching space, which St. Michael’s will implement once the PFLC has moved into a new space in the new patient tower.

Online Patient Education Library: Improving health literacy

St. Michael’s launched its first online health library for patients in 2011 using a third-party solution. This library portal was designed according to best practices in adult education and health literacy to help patients maximize their learning. It provides clinicians and patients with information on a variety of medical conditions through health sheets available in print and video, including materials in multiple languages. Clinicians can also work with the Patient and Family Education program to upload their own educational resources to the library.

“The Online Patient Education Library has provided us with a St. Michael’s-endorsed, evidence-based tool, which addressed a gap we had acknowledged,” said one of the first clinicians to use this online tool.

After using this resource for five years, the Patient and Family Education Program will be developing its own custom online solution that will highlight educational resources created at St. Michael’s and from other trusted Canadian sources. This will enable the hospital to build a collection that is better tailored to the needs of patients and families at St. Michael’s.

Improving staff’s skills in patient and family education

The Patient and Family Education program has created a wide range of educational offerings to raise awareness regarding health literacy barriers and improve patient and family education among staff and students. Some educational highlights include creating Health Literacy eLearning modules, offering the Maximizing Your Patient Education Skills course, providing training on Using Teach-Back and creating a community of practice for patient and family education. To deliver these sessions, the program partnered with others, such as the Late Career Nurse Initiative, the Senior-Friendly Hospital Strategy and the Dietetic Internship program. The program has also begun to work closely with Quality Improvement to enhance delivery of education at critical points of the health care process, such as during a patient discharge.

Through these opportunities, St. Michael’s strives to continuously improve skills in evidence-based strategies, address barriers to understanding and enhance the health literacy of patients and family members.

30 Bond Street, Toronto, Ontario, M5B 1W8, Canada

E-mail: education@smh.ca

Copyright © 2016 St. Michael's Hospital. All Rights Reserved.

 

Read the full report in PDF

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Three strategic directions: 1) Improving patient journey, 2) providing evidence-based education tools and resources, 3) enhancing staff skills

Activities: Opened Patient and Family Learning Centre, expanded capacity to educate staff members, and acquired and developed online library

30 Bond Street, Toronto, Ontario, M5B 1W8, Canada

E-mail: education@smh.ca

Copyright © 2016 St. Michael's Hospital. All Rights Reserved.

 

Read the full report in PDF

Three strategic directions: 1) Improving patient journey, 2) providing evidence-based education tools and resources, 3) enhancing staff skills

Activities: Opened Patient and Family Learning Centre, expanded capacity to educate staff members, and acquired and developed online library

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30 Bond Street, Toronto, Ontario, M5B 1W8, Canada

E-mail: education@smh.ca

Copyright © 2016 St. Michael's Hospital. All Rights Reserved.

 

Read the full report in PDF