Benefits of using teach-back in the healthcare setting
Healthcare workers often worry that teach-back will take too much time. One way around this is to use teach-back on just two or three main points. Teach the information to the client, then repeat the key points “in a nutshell” and ask the client to explain just these points back to you.
Teach-back is about how you deliver information. Once you are familiar with using teach-back, it should take only minimal extra time than it does now to teach people because you will become more efficient about what and how you are teaching.
Testimonials about teach-back
Roll your mouse over each figure below for testimonials about the value of teach-back
Beauchamp A, Batterham R, Dodson S, Astbury B, Elsworth G, McPhee C, Jacobson J, Buchbinder R, Osborne R.
Systematic development and implementation of interventions to OPtimise Health Literacy and Access (Ophelia).
BMC Public Health (2017) 17:230
Alerted healthcare workers to the importance of tailoring information to the client’s strengths
“Even if the client has got literacy issues, they must have developed other skills, so we’ve got to work out how they’ve managed and adapt our teaching to that. Not our way, their way.
Because we can sit there and lecture them, but that doesn’t make them buy into it.”
Knowing they would be asked to ‘teach-back’ increased clients’ engagement
“I used teach-back with one client who has been pretty tricky to get much traction with. I think she has been actually listening more attentively because she has input into it and she knows that I will be checking in at the end. You know, what are the next steps and things. And so over the last few months or so, she is more engaged and she is taking more notice. And she is actually doing a lot better.”
Using teach-back built rapport between client and healthcare worker
“I spend a lot more time asking clients what was the main thing they understood from that and encouraging them to talk back to me. Before I was more “you’ve heard the information now go and do it”. It was reinforcing to me about my teaching; she and I both enjoyed it.”
The key question is:
What do we do when the person doesn’t understand?
For teach-back to be effective, healthcare workers need the ability to not only identify that a person has a problem with understanding, but to know strategies to overcome the problem.
We will discuss some helpful strategies later in this module.
Batterham R, Hawkins M, Collins P, Buchbinder R, Osborne R.
Health literacy: applying current concepts to improve health services and reduce health inequalities.
Public Health. 2016 Mar;132:3-12.
When can teach-back be used?In which of the following situations would teach-back be useful?
The correct answer is 'All of the above'.