It’s a huge factor in nursing care and the emergency department is no exception.
Standardized discharge instructions are usually enough for the most common diagnoses, but when a patient has a diagnosis that isn’t covered, or needs more information than what the standardized instructions furnish, what can you provide?
In these instances, I turn to two specific sites on the internet for information.
1. National Institutes of Health: Health Information
The National Institutes of Health (NIH): Health Information website offers a portal to a virtually limitless source of health information geared to the consumer/patient.
Search alphabetically, by health category or by typing in a specific topic. This brings up a list of links from the different Institutes concerned with that topic. For example, “Anemia” has links listed under four different Institutes, covering the basics of “What is Anemia?” and “Anemia in Kidney Disease and Dialysis”, among other topics.
Each topic can be printed with a simple click.
It is so easy to use this resource, I am able to find what I need for patients in the middle of a busy emergency department.
2. Centers for Disease and Control: Diseases & Conditions
The Centers for Disease and Control: Diseases & Conditions website is similar to the NIH site in that it has a wealth of information geared to the consumer/patient.
Then it gets a little more complicated. Instead of a page of basic links, you will find a colorful page of sub-topic options. On some topics, such as diabetes, heading for the need-to-know information for patients is front-and-center, but takes a few more clicks to actually reach the information. Other topics require a scan of the page to find the link for basic patient centered information.
Once you find it – it’s well written, easily understood, and easy to print out.
I will say that for a patient doing their own research, the CDC site is a more colorful site, and possibly offers more in-depth information over all.
Whether you need the information quickly, or have the time to look over the resources, both the NIH and the CDC are fantastic resources for patient education. In the ER I print out information, but I also pass along the web addresses, to ensure my patients have access to solid health information.
If you use either resource, let me know what you think!