3 steps for an effective patient education program

Recently, my mother-in-law underwent bypass surgery. While the doctor treating her told her about how her diet should limit fried foods and spicy items for at least 6 months, he did not tell her what other complications she may experience, considering she is diabetic as well. Further, there was no counselling support provided to help her mentally cope with the surgery. A woman who has been running her household for close to 35 years, cannot simply be told to sit in a corner and let others take over. As a result her self-esteem took a beating. Further, the doctor overlooked the fact that her husband, who is older to her, may not be able to provide care for her. No alternate arrangements were discussed. A year post surgery, she discovered a hemorrhage in the eye which surfaced as a red spot in the eye, causing panic, when diagnosed.  She wasn’t mentally prepared for such a scenario and is finding it difficult to cope.


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Does India need better patient education ?

Motherhood is perhaps the most challenging phase in a woman’s life – not just because of the of physical changes she experiences, but also due to the wide range of advise she is subject to from family, friends, and the medical practitioners she consults. While advise on motherhood and parenting by friends and family members is often based on that individual’s personal experience (or that of his/her close relative), one would expect that medical practitioners would provide appropriate advise relevant to the patient’s life style, mental and physical health, and monetary compulsions. Sadly, my experience indicates otherwise.


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