Tools to help you plan and
support self care
Assess your consultation skills and style
Why you should use this
To help you to analyse your approach and achievements in patient consultations.
When to use this
Tate describes five tasks to be covered by a health professional in a consultation with a
patient.1 We’ve added a sixth to focus on supporting self care.
What to do
Use the checklist in Table T19.1 to review the extent to which you complete the six tasks for individual patients. Start with 10 patients picked at random from several surgeries or clinics (e.g. one or two per surgery or clinic) and complete the checklist after each session while the consultation is still fresh in your mind. Or review a series of consecutive consultations (e.g. the first or last five patients from two surgeries or clinics).
How it works
(insight) It should help you to consider the extent to which you keep your determination to support self care, in balance with the reasons that the patient is consulting with you.
Whom to engage
Any health professional can do this.
How much time you should allow
The minimum time this exercise should take is 60 minutes, allowing a little time for reflection.
What a facilitator should do
Sell the importance of supporting self care as an integral part of a consultation, rather than the dominating feature.
What to do next
Debrief with a colleague or as a team, and reflect on whether your support for self care is appropriately introduced in most of your consultations.
Table T19.1: Check out how comprehensive your approach is in patient consultations and if they include support for self care
What makes it work better
Someone could video or audiotape their consultations and ask a colleague to complete the checklists above, then compare their own and their colleagues’ responses. The patients concerned might complete the checklist, then the health professional compare their own and the patient’s assessments and consider if they are matched, and if not, why not.
What can go wrong
An individual health professional without insight completes the checklists which then serve to reinforce their pattern of consulting behaviour.
1 Tate P. The Doctor’s Communication Handbook. Oxford: Radcliffe Medical Press; 2001.