Learning Opportunities

Opportunities to learn about how you can use teach-back in your daily practice

Making teach-back part of routine practice – tips for starting out

Tips to help healthcare workers and teams develop the ‘habit’ of using teach-back in everyday practice are:

  • Start by using teach-back in just one or two topic areas that are relatively ‘contained’. For example, how to manage cardiac chest pain. Areas that are ‘high-risk’ or key transition points may be good to start with.
  • Use a team-approach. If everyone who is caring for a client uses teach-back – even for informal education, then it will become more familiar to everyone.
  • Document who has taught what and how the client responded. Teams can develop their own teach-back checklist or log to ensure that all important teaching points have been covered.
  • Consider adding ‘teach-back’ case studies to every second team meeting. This ten-minute activity will allow team members to share success stories or any difficulties with using teach-back.
  • Nominate ‘teach-back champions’ within a clinical area. Depending on their available time, these champions can act as role models and mentor other team members to use teach-back.
  • Use a train-the-trainer approach whereby the champions teach their peers to use teach-back may be effective
  • Put reminders to use teach-back around the clinical area, e.g. posters or on staff lanyards.
  • Let patients/clients know that teach-back is part of usual practice, and encourage them to use it themselves.
  • Use teach-back with your peers during clinical handover.
  • Add teach-back into clinical pathways and standards, develop a policy & procedure, or make it a key performance indicator for staff.

A structured approach to building client knowledge and confidence to take action.

A team from the USA uses a 3-day approach to patient education, using teach-back to check for understanding:

  • Day 1 questions relate to simple knowledge (e.g. “what is the name of the tablet you take for your high blood pressure?”.
  • Day 2 questions address concerns and attitudes (e.g. “what concerns do you have….).
  • Day 3 questions ask about what patients will actually do in practice (e.g. “how will you remember to weigh yourself every day”).

Also see these additional resources for integrating teach-back into usual practice at an organisational level:

Teach-back presentation

The slides in this presentation provide an overview of the learning module content. They are designed to be used in a ‘train-the-trainer’ model to reinforce what people have learnt about teach-back, or to introduce new learners to the topic.

Evaluating teach-back – how do we know it is working?

You may want to evaluate the use of teach-back in your setting. Some strategies used by others include:

  • Changes in self-reported use of teach-back by healthcare workers over time.
  • Changes in client knowledge about their condition, before and after teach-back is used.
  • Decreases in readmission rates for issues where client understanding of self-management is paramount.
  • Peer observation of how individual staff use teach-back.
  • Chart audit to see how many times teach-back is being documented.
  • Changes in satisfaction surveys of clients or caregivers.

Additional health literacy resources

There are many resources available on the internet to support health literacy practice and the use of teach-back. Here are just a few:

Links to National Action Plans and Statements for Health Literacy

Additional resources about teach-back and health literacy