The Patient Partner programme
In this programme you may be teaching a variety of health professionals: medical students, primary care physicians, nurses, physiotherapists etc. To keep the text simple we often just use the word “doctor” or physician” but remember you ma be talking to students or nurses.
**********************************************************************************************************************The aim of the Patient Partner programme is to assist in the teaching of health professionals to assess the problems of people with arthritis and other musculoskeletal conditions, to ensure the best management of those problems. This process requires that the consultation between the person with arthritis or other musculoskeletal problem and a health professional results in the health professional having a full understanding of the problem the person has, the effects it is having on them, and being able to identify the cause so that a plan for management can be developed and explained to the person.
You as a Patient Partner are the best person to help health professionals to develop these skills, and the training manual and the training course are designed to enable you to do this with confidence.
This training manual provides you with all the basic knowledge you need to become a Patient Partner. The manual is divided into four sections.
- The first part of the manual gives you the foundation for your studies.
The aim is to help you understand from the health professionals viewpoint what they need to gain from a consultation if they are to provide the best management of that problem.
- The second part of the manual provides you with some background knowledge to help you communicate effectively with health professionals.
- The third part provides modules for the different demonstrations.
These include a module for the screening assessment (based on GALS – this is explained on page 18) and modules related to the common problems that health professionals need to be able to manage. These include problems with the neck, shoulder, hand and wrist, lower back, hip, and the knee, ankle and foot. Each module has a guide to developing a script for describing your problem and a script for the examination.
- The final part has further information that will help you as a Patient Partner, and will help you prepare for a Patient Partner demonstration meeting.
You will be advised by your trainer about which modules to study for your initial training. If you choose to, and training is available, you can find out about studying additional modules at a later stage.
How to use this manual
You will be assigned a study partner as a mentor for you before, during and after your training. Your study partner will be able to answer questions and give you direction and support, and encouragement if you feel overwhelmed!
Part 1 is background information for you
to understand, not learn. It should help you to prepare for learning the joints for your demonstration meetings.
Part 2 is a little harder, especially if you have not studied anatomy or biology before. It will teach you how to describe your problems using the correct medical terms. Although it may seem a lot to learn,
it will help you to be able to communicate effectively and precisely with the doctors and you will be helping them to learn was well. Plan your schedule so that can study a little each day, whilst allowing yourself time to review what you learned on the previous day. Practise by naming the different parts of your body and teaching a family member or friend. Also try to describe to someone where one part of the body is in relation to another or in what direction you are moving your arms or legs. Repetition is a vital part of learning.
Part 3 includes much that is familiar to you if you are already a Patient Partner as it is about helping you learn how to teach others about your own condition.
If you are a new Patient Partner, then this is the section that will teach you about the joints you are going to demonstrate. Your study partner will help you.
Before the course
As mentioned earlier, your study partner will provide you with support leading up to the course. You should have this manual six weeks prior to the course to allow you plenty of time to read through at your leisure.
Try to familiarise yourself with the Part 1. Principles of a Consultation and Part 2. Background Knowledge. Try to understand the “directional terms” as this is the language used when describing the examination. Many unfamiliar words are described. When they first appear in the text these words are printed in italics and emboldened. Words that are bold but not italicised are just for emphasis. In addition, there is a glossary at the end of the manual where you can look these words up. We have also provided a pronunciation guide.
A Patient Partner who has been additionally trained to be a Patient
Partner trainer will lead your training course.
A Patient Partners training course is typically residential and lasts a number of days, often 2 or 3, depending on the joints to be covered.
During this time you will cover the manual in more detail and have an opportunity to see and practise the Patient Partner demonstration.
After the course
It is crucial that you practise, practise, practise when you leave the course – this is what makes a confident and competent Patient Partner.
Four to six weeks after your course, you will be assessed on your demonstration. Do not be alarmed as, by this point, the whole procedure will be familiar to you and you will have received guidance and support from your trainers/co-ordinators.
Learn and practise:
Your introduction, the Patient Partners programme and an explanation of the session. You should then be able to provide all the information within a given time (see chapter on preparing for a meeting). You will find a script provided for these into which you can insert your specific details.
Taking a history (including what the patient wants to get from the consultation and what the doctor wants to get from the consultation).
The Screening Assessment.
The Full Examination of the joints that you have learned.
- Make flash cards of various terms and ask family or friends to test you.
- Use the checklist to quiz yourself and review materials you have already studied.
- You may wish to make a flipchart with some of your demonstration notes (lists can be useful to ensure you have covered everything).
- Use your study partner.
- Make a recording of the full script and play it at home and in the car, so you become familiar with the wording and pronunciation and with the flow of the demonstration.
- If you are not confident about speaking in public, practise what you are going to say out loud a few times. You can practise on your own in front of a mirror, or better still, ask a friend or member of your family to listen to you.
Becoming a Patient Partner
Patient Partner demonstration meetings will vary according to:
- Who is going to be trained (medical students, primary care physicians, a mixture of primary care physicians and other health professionals, such as nurses, physiotherapists etc).
- How many people you will have to work with.
- Whether you are working with a doctor to run the session.
- How long you have been given for your demonstration meeting.
For your first few meetings, an option is for you to attend with a fully qualified Patient Partner so that you can gradually take on more of a role.
It is important to keep up your skills and to refresh your studies every now and again to ensure you have not forgotten what you have learned. You will be expected to undertake a periodical assessment – we call this Quality Assurance (QA).
Remember that this is a method of joint examination and you may come across people who use different practice. This is fine but do not adopt practice into your demonstration that is not compatible with this manual. Check if you are not sure.