Always Events: Iowa Health Systems

Organization/Institution: Iowa Health System
Principal Investigator(s): Gail A. Nielsen
Project Title: Always Use Teach Back!

Always Event(s): The Always Event is to always listen to the patient during hand-offs by encouraging teach-back opportunities—during hospitalization and upon arrival in the next care setting. Always use the Teach-back method.

Overview: IHS will develop and implement a “Always Use Teach-back!” toolkit for the three care settings encountered by patients being discharged from the hospital: hospital discharge, primary care follow-up, and home health support. The toolkit will include training modules with videos demonstrating effective use of teach-back. IHS will train and coach physicians and nurses on the “Always Use Teach-back!” approach.

The Always Events encompass Teach-Back (T-B) opportunities – during a patient’s hospitalization and upon arrival in the next care setting. Physicians and nurses will educate and discover (in a non-shaming way) what the patient or family caregiver understood using T-B. The aim is to have patients/family caregivers able to teach back in their own words:

  • danger signs and symptoms to watch for after discharge from hospital
  • action steps if signs or symptoms occur
  • key medications related to principal diagnosis
  • critical self-care activities
  • follow-up appointments

IHS has the ongoing benefit of patient and family advisors in developing appropriate T-B interventions through their HLC, partnership with the New Readers of Iowa7, and Reducing Readmissions Collaborative. IHS patient and family caregivers will be partners in developing and testing the most effective T-B learning system.

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