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Effective TB Interviewing for Contact Investigation: Self-Study Modules

Return to Module 2 Table of Contents

Patient Education

A well-informed patient is more likely to cooperate if the patient understands that it is important to identify priority contacts so that those individuals may be medically evaluated and prevent the spread of TB. The patient may also have additional questions about the TB diagnosis and treatment. Thus, it is important that patient education be continued throughout the TB interview process.

The Importance of Patient Education

Often, patient education is overlooked for various reasons including time constraints, communication barriers, cultural differences, poor rapport with the patient, and the interviewer’s discomfort with certain topics. However, ensuring patient understanding is extremely important and is a vital part of the TB interview for the following reasons:

  • The patient who understands his or her illness is more likely to be invested in his or her treatment
  • The patient-interviewer relationship becomes more trusting as information is shared and made specific to the patient’s level of understanding
  • An educated patient may feel more involved and accountable for his or her health care decisions
  • The patient becomes part of the health department team when the patient understands the investigation processes and the reasons they are occurring

The following principles of learning help summarize the methods for an effective patient education process:

  • Information provided must be relevant to the patient’s existing knowledge, condition, and life circumstances
  • Educational techniques must be individualized
  • The interviewer must constantly look for feedback through verbal and nonverbal language to gauge the patient’s understanding
  • Messages should always be reinforced through active listening techniques
  • Education should be provided through multiple methods (e.g., discussion, print materials) to reinforce messages
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