As healthcare professionals, our main goal is to improve our patients' health. For the longest time, our clinical training experiences have been limited to in-clinic and hospital settings, providing us with hands-on experience in dealing with patients. However, we often fail to take into account the importance of understanding our patients' at-home behaviors in achieving optimal health outcomes. With patients' at-home behaviors playing a vital role in health improvement, ignoring this aspect of healthcare training can limit our effectiveness as healthcare providers. Moreover, for patients with special needs and disabilities, trying to change their behaviors can become a herculean task.
The importance of understanding patients' at-home behaviors cannot be overstated. Patients spend most of their time outside healthcare facilities, making it difficult for healthcare practitioners to monitor their progress. This is why understanding patients' behaviors outside the healthcare setting is critical to designing effective interventions to improve their health. For example, a patient who is trying to manage hypertension may need a detailed diet plan to follow at home. As healthcare providers, we need to ensure that patients have the necessary information to make healthy lifestyle choices even after leaving the healthcare facility.
Healthcare professionals must also recognize the unique challenges that patients with disabilities face in maintaining their health at home. While patients with disabilities can benefit greatly from a healthy lifestyle, many may experience barriers to healthy living, such as difficulty accessing healthy foods and exercise equipment. In these cases, healthcare providers need to work with patients to develop realistic strategies that address their specific needs.
One way that healthcare professionals can better understand their patients' at-home behaviors is by engaging with them regularly outside of healthcare facilities. This includes home visits and regular phone or email check-ins. By doing so, healthcare practitioners can keep track of the patient's progress, identify any potential barriers to achieving desired outcomes, and offer advice and guidance on how to overcome them.
Healthcare training should also be tailored to include more focus on the importance of patients' at-home behaviors in ensuring optimal health outcomes. This will require a shift in thinking about the roles of healthcare providers in patients' lives. Instead of just providing treatment in clinics and hospitals, healthcare professionals must also become advocates for healthy lifestyles outside of clinical settings.
Healthcare training must evolve to include a greater understanding of patients' at-home behaviors. Effective patient care requires healthcare practitioners to know what happens outside the healthcare setting and to work with patients to overcome challenges in maintaining desired health outcomes at home. This will require a shift in thinking for healthcare providers and a willingness to engage with patients outside of traditional healthcare facilities. By doing so, we can help patients achieve the best possible health outcomes and improve overall healthcare effectiveness as a whole.