Changes to Practice

The following is a recommended intervention identified by the TP-CKD programme for implementation with both staff and patients, to test the following question:

Can the use of intervention tools help to improve the knowledge, skills and confidence of patients with kidney disease to enable fuller participation in the management of their own health?

To explore other interventions identified by the programme, visit our Interventions Toolkit Home Page

Changes to Practice

The routine ways in which care is organised and delivered can have a major influence on patient engagement in their own healthcare.  Small changes to these established practices can make a big difference.

For example

  • Letters can be written directly to patients and copied to GPs rather than vice versa
  • Blood tests taken a few days before clinic allow real time discussion of results
  • Footnotes on clinic letters with information on relevant websites

The information below relates specifically to “letters addressed to patients” as an example of a changes to practice

Letters addressed to patients

What are the benefits?

This can encourage clear, non-technical communication, give ownership to patients, enhance their engagement in, and experience of health care as well as encouraging person-centred care among clinicians.

Patient comments:

“I feel he is putting me first …”

“It’s more personal to me”

“I feel I’m being treated with more respect”

How can letters to patients be used?

In centres which have adopted this initiative, feedback from patients and clinicians is generally positive. Templates have been developed that promote goal setting and action planning. An initial learning curve may be required to refocus style and avoid the unqualified use of medical jargon.

The letter can constitute a care plan.

Useful Links and Resources

Examples of Letters to patients:

Click here to view an example of a Letter to Patient template, designed by King’s College Hospital Renal Unit

British Journal of Renal Medicine 2013 volume 18(1); supplement, page 21

Evidence of benefit