Helping Patients Connect the Dots

Post written by Amber Adams

Amber serves with Heartland Health Centers as a Health Educator

On any given day, you are likely to find me researching cultural cuisines and diets, cutting out and printing colorful construction paper diagrams, and probing through various trash cans around the office in search of reusable materials. While one may find this odd, for me, it serves as a weekly routine in preparation for the various nutrition and health education presentations I give at Heartland Health Centers’ Wilson Clinic.

As my AmeriCorps service term is coming to a close, I have reflected on the many 1:1 nutrition counseling visits, clinic waiting room presentations and patient education group sessions I have led. Although each visit, presentation and session is different and presents challenges and goals unique to each patient, I have learned the importance of visual aids in communicating health information.  My use of visual aids at Wilson has helped patients overcome difficulties understanding their medical visit and instructions from their physician. The pictures, posters and diagrams I share with them helps me relay the important information so patients can connect the dots for better health, and perhaps, the colorful aids continue to remind them of this information long after the education ends.

By helping patients visually interpret their healthcare visits and health concerns, patients remember what is most important for their journey toward improved health. While patients may not always remember what was said, visual aids can go a long way in helping patients understand the importance of incorporating a healthier diet and the steps and tips to get started.