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Obtain a Health History

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  1. Obtain a Health History Ref(s): C1 - Bates “A Guide to Physical Examination”, eighth Edition

  2. Obtaining a health history • The Health History Interview • Techniques of skilled interviewing • Components of the Comprehensive Adult History

  3. Health History Interview Health History: • A structured framework for organizing patient information in a written or verbal form. • Focuses the clinician’s attention on specific pieces of information that must be obtained from the patient. The interviewing process: • Generates the pieces of information in a fluid manner.

  4. Health History Interview Conversation with a purpose • To improve the well-being of the patient: • Establish a trusting and supportive relationship • Gather information. • Offer information.

  5. Health History Interview You need to focus your energy on gathering information while: • Letting the patient’s story “unfold” • Generating a series of hypotheses about the cause of the patient’s concerns and • Still find a way to explore the patient’s “feelings and beliefs about their problem(s)”.

  6. Health History Interview The challenge: “Every man is ….like all other men …like some other men, …like no other man.” (Barbara Bates) Remember that few patients are “competent” story or history tellers…in the way that you want them to be.

  7. Health History Interview Who are we talking with? Why has the patient come? What do we want to know? What does the patient expect of us? What more information do we need to solve the problem?

  8. Health History Interview Before you begin: • Taking time for Self-reflection • How can you remain or become consistently open and respectful to individual differences? • Everyone brings their own beliefs, values, and experiences to each patient encounter…how will that affect what you are about to hear and how will you respond to it?

  9. Health History Interview 2. Reviewing the Chart • Problem list • Medications • Allergies • Past diagnoses and treatments • The chart or ER triage sheet does not, “capture the essence of the person that you are about to meet”

  10. Health History Interview 3. Setting Goals for the interview Provider centered goals: • Write-up for your supervisor • Insurance form Patient centered goals: • Relieve the pain • Note for work There has to be a balance between the above as well as the institutional needs.

  11. Health History Interview 4. Reviewing Clinician Appearance and Behavior What do patients look for in appearance? Posture, gestures, eye contact, and tone of voice can all express interest, attention, acceptance and understanding. But they all have the potential to express the opposite!

  12. Health History Interview 5. Improving the environment • How do you make a room(s) more private or more comfortable? 6. To take notes or not to take notes? • If you need to use short phrases, specific dates, or words not the final version of what a patient said? • How do you respond to, “your note taking is making me uncomfortable?”

  13. Health History Interview The sequence of the interview: • Greeting the patient and establishing rapport. • Inviting the patient’s story. • Establishing the agenda for the interview. • Expanding and clarifying the patient’s story: generating and testing diagnostic hypotheses…Q and Q!!! • Creating a shared understanding of the problem(s). • Negotiating a plan. (further evaluation, treatment and patient education) • Planning for follow-up and closing the interview.

  14. Greeting the patient and establishing rapport Introduce yourself. • Great patient appropriately in a friendly relaxed way. • Shake hands (if possible). • Explain your role in the patient’s care and status (as a student) • Note – never forget patient names and use titles. • Confidentiality is paramount • Know who is in the room, their relationship to the patient and whether or not he or she should stay in the room. • Be sensitive to the comfort of the patient: • Bedpan vs. pain vs. other tests taking place • Arrange the room appropriately: • Do not have objects between you and the patient when avoidable. • Avoid arrangements that connotate disrespect or inequality of power • Consider the need for a chaperone nurse/ Med Tech

  15. Inviting the patient’s story Open ended questions to elicit the Chief Complaint: • “What concerns bring you in today?” • “How can I help you” • “You have had this problem for seven weeks, what made you decide to seek medical treatment for it today? What has changed?” Listen without interrupting!

  16. Inviting the patient’s story Following the patient’s lead: • Initially - “continuers” • Try to hone in on the most significant things using “Direct questions”. • Consider asking questions that require a graded response. • Consider offering Multiple Choice answers. • Ask one question at a time. • Use language that is understandable and appropriate? • Clarify what the patient means but in terms they can understand.

  17. Expanding and clarifying the patient’s story Language is important: • Shortness of breath vs. dyspnea • Bright red blood in your stools vs. hematochezia Establishing the sequence and time course of the presenting problem is also important. • It is now 1200, to the best of your knowledge when exactly did the pain start?

  18. Establishing the agenda for the interview. Both the patient and the clinician have goals in mind…they are not always the same. As a student you usually have more time per patient; this changes as you become a clinician. Agree upon the goals at the beginning of the encounter and then you can move forward.

  19. Expanding and clarifying the patient’s story Each symptom has attributes that must be clarified, including context, associations, and chronology…the most obvious and ( very common) being that of “pain”. Remember: the “seven attributes of a symptom”.

  20. Symptom attributes • Location: Where is it? Can you point to it? Does it radiate? • Quality: What is it like? • Quantity or severity: How bad is it? • Timing: When, how long, how often? • Setting in which it occurs: environmental and personal activities. • Remitting or exacerbating factors. • Associated manifestations.

  21. Essentially, by asking the right questions you are generating and testing diagnostic hypotheses through engaging the patient’s perspective. To do this well you must understand the pathophysiology of disease and the patterns of disease. How do you gain this knowledge? Studying, seeing real patients, studying, seeing real patients, reviewing and studying, and SEEING REAL PATIENTS!!!!!!

  22. Creating a shared understanding of the problem(s). The seven attributes gives you the details but you also need to explore the following terms to consider a dual view of reality for the interview to be successful… disease vs. illness: • Disease: explanation that the clinician brings to the symptoms. • Illness: how the patient experiences symptoms. What factors may shape this experience?

  23. Creating a shared understanding of the problem(s). Exploring the patient’s perspective: • Pt’s thoughts about the nature and cause of the problem. • Pt’s feelings, esp. fears about the problem. • Pt’s expectations of the clinician and healthcare. • The effect of the problem on the patients life. • Prior personal or family experiences that are similar. • Therapeutic responses that the patient has previously tried.

  24. Creating a shared understanding of the problem(s). IFFE: • What do you think is causing the problem ( Patient’s best Idea of what is causing the problem? • What is your worst Fear that the problem could be? • How is the problem affecting your Functioning? • What are your Expectations of this visit?

  25. Negotiating a plan Create a plan that is feasible for you and the patient…not just you! e.g. The case of the patient that does not get sick leave or is self-employed with few or no benefits.

  26. Planning for Follow-up and Closing Maybe difficult…if you are doing well so far the patient likes talking to you and chances are they would like to continue. Ensure that the plan has been agreed upon and summarize the plan…or better yet have them summarize it. Do not get into discussion of new topics as you are leaving if you can avoid it. Reassurance is adequate if it is not a life or limb threatening concern.

  27. Techniques of Skilled interviewing Active listening: • Fully attend to what the patient is communicating being aware of the pt’s emotional state. Adaptive Questioning: • Directed questioning from general to specific. • Questioning to elicit a graded response. • Asking a series of questions, one at a time. • Offering multiple choices for answers.

  28. Techniques of Skilled interviewing Non-verbal communication • Eye contact, gestures, facial expression, posture, head position and nodding or shaking, personal distance, crossed arms or legs. • Matching your position to the patient: eye to eye, or reasonable physical contact with the patient.

  29. Techniques of Skilled interviewing Facilitation: • using posture, actions or words to encourage the pt to say more. I.e. “mmm go on”, “I’m listening”, maintaining eye contact, or leaning forward in the chair. Reflection/echoing: • a simple repetition of the patients words, I.e. Pt “The pain got worse and started to spread”? Clinician “Spread”?

  30. Techniques of Skilled interviewing Clarification: • Some patients words are ambiguous and require further discussion, I.e. What do you mean when you stated “I have a cold”, “I don’t feel like my usual self”. Empathy: • Offering some one a tissue during a moment of distress or simply stating “I understand”, “you seem sad.”, or “That sounds upsetting.”, “ This is a very difficult challenge for you”

  31. Techniques of Skilled interviewing Validation: • Legitimize their emotional experience. “That must have quite terrifying.” Reassurance…in a proper manner. • You need to identify and accept the patient’s feelings without offering reassurance at that moment and allow the reassurance to come later…once you have all the necessary information and concerns can be openly addressed.

  32. Techniques of Skilled interviewing *Summarization: • Lets the patient know that you have been listening. • Picks up any missed information or misinterpretation of information. • Organizes your clinical reasoning, conveys your thinking to the patient and makes the relationship less one sided and more collaborative.

  33. Techniques of Skilled interviewing Highlighting transitions • “Now I would like to ask you some questions concerning your past health.”

  34. Taking a History on Sensitive Topics • Drug / Etoh abuse • Sexual orientation or habits • Death and dying • Financial concerns • Racial and ethnic experiences • Family interactions • Domestic violence • Psychiatric illness • Physical deformities • Functioning of the Urinary Tract / Bowels, etc..

  35. Basic principles • Maintain a non-judgemental approach. • Explaining to a patient why you need to know the information and putting it into context is very helpful. • Use ”specific language”!

  36. Other ways to become more comfortable • Reading about these topics. • Talk to selected colleagues. • Talk to teachers about your concerns. • Listen to experienced clinicians when they have to discuss certain topics with a patient. • Be aware of Bias and cultural difference!

  37. Culture • A system of shared ideas, rules, and meanings which individual inherit or acquire that tells them how to view the world, how to experience it emotionally, and how to behave in relation to other people and to the environment.

  38. The Goal • Become aware of your own biases and values. • Develop communication skills that transcend cultural differences. • Build therapeutic partnership based on respect for the patient’s life experiences.

  39. Self-awareness How do you define yourself by: • Ethnicity • Class • Region • Religion • Political affiliation • How are you the same or different than your family of origin?

  40. Values vs. Bias Values - standards we use to measure beliefs and behaviors…which may appear to be absolute. Biases - the attitudes or feelings that we attach to the awareness of differences.

  41. Learning about others Can you be an expert on every person’s culture? • Patients are experts on their own unique cultural perspective. • Be ready to acknowledge your own ignorance or bias. • Learn about ethnic or racial groups in your region or if you are going to work in a different region as a start.

  42. Adapting Interview Techniques The Silent Patient • Silence: collecting thoughts, remembering details, deciding on trusting you with info. • Non-verbal clues: emotion, unable to sit still. • Are you asking too many questions in sequence? • Have you offended them in any way? • Are they too short of breath to answer your questions?

  43. Adapting Interview Techniques The Talkative patient • Do you give them “free reign for 5-10 mins”? • Focus on what is important for the patient, you may need to interrupt but be courteous. • A brief summary may help you change the subject yet validate any concerns. • It is important to not show your impatience.

  44. Adapting Interview Techniques The Anxious Patient • It is a frequent reaction to sickness, treatment, and the healthcare system itself. • It is also maybe part of their illness. • Watch for verbal and non-verbal clues. • If you detect anxiety, reflect your impressions back to the patient and encourage them to talk about any underlying concerns.

  45. Adapting Interview Techniques The Crying Patient • Emotions: sadness to anger to frustration. • Maybe therapeutic for the patient. • Most patients will recompose themselves and continue with their story…as opposed to escalating or becoming uncontrollable. • Does a crying patient make you uncomfortable?

  46. Adapting Interview Techniques The Confusing Patient • “ a positive review of symptoms” • Focus on the meaning or function of the sx as part of a psychological assessment. • You may become baffled, confused, or, as is usually the case, frustrated yourself. • “my fingernails feel too heavy” • Be aware of any neurological, psychiatric, or intoxication in patients like this as well as any language barriers…get more info from loved ones with permission from the patient.

  47. Adapting Interview Techniques The Angry or Disruptive patient • Reasons: ill, suffered a loss, felt powerless within the healthcare system…they may direct this anger towards you. • Did you do anything wrong? Can you correct it or at least apologize so you can move on. • You can validate their feelings without agreeing with their reasons.

  48. Adapting Interview Techniques • What do you do when patients become hostile or disruptive? • Inform security, hear what they have to say, do not appear challenging in posture, and suggest moving to another location that is not upsetting to other patients and offers more privacy or less privacy given the situation.

  49. Adapting Interview Techniques The Patient with a language Barrier • “Nothing will convince you of the importance of a history then having to do without one.” • Make every effort to find an interpreter. • A neutral objective person who is familiar with both languages and cultures. • Family members may: speed things up, violate confidentiality, distort meanings, transmit incomplete information, and may have their own agenda.

  50. Global Competency Overall technique of applying the knowledge of the skill Greeting patient& Introduction Establishing Rapport: • Look confident & professional approach. • Non verbal communication- looks & talk friendly manner, show interest & seriousness regarding patient’s problem. Logical sequence of questioning. • If a procedure is required explain the procedure & obtain informed consent. • Assurance of the procedure & confidentiality. .