Using the teach-back technique
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What is the teach-back technique?
The teach-back technique is a tool that service providers can use when communicating with clients who have low health literacy. It assists service providers improve client comprehension.
Steps in the teach-back technique
- Explain one concept of a diagnosis or treatment plan to the client
- Then assess the client’s recall and understanding by asking the client to explain what you said
- Repeat the process until the client can demonstrate they have a satisfactory understanding of the information
- Introduce the next concept
Key elements for using teach-back
- Be mindful of the amount of information conveyed at one time. The information should be broken up into small chunks so it can be relayed easily and avoid confusion
- Use correct phrasing so that the client doesn’t feel like they are being tested
Good practice example
A GP is finishing her consultation with a patient and is adjusting the patient’s medication. She uses the phrase ‘I want to be sure that I explained your medication correctly. Can you tell me how you are going to take this medicine?’ She emphasises that she is merely asking in order to do her job correctly.
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