Patient counseling

Patient counseling


       Objectives of patient counseling

       Steps involved in patient counseling

       Barriers of patient counseling


After completion of this lecture, student will be able to:

       Explain the objectives of patient counseling

       Describe the steps involved in patient counseling

       Explain the barriers of patient counseling

Patient counseling


       Patient counseling is defined as providing medication information orally or in written form to the patients or their representatives on directions of use, advice on side effects, precautions, storage, diet and life style modifications

Objectives of patient counseling

1. Patient should recognize the importance of medication for his well being

2. A working relationship and a foundation for continuous interaction and consultation should be established

3. Patient's understanding of strategies to deal with medication side effects and drug interactions should be improved

4. Should ensure better patient compliance

5. Patient becomes an informed, efficient and active participant in disease treatment and self-care management

6. The pharmacist should be perceived as a professional who offers pharmaceutical care

7. Drug interactions and adverse drug reactions should be prevented

Functions of patient counseling

Effective patients counseling aims to produce the following results:

       Better patients understanding of their illness and the role of medication in its treatment

       Improved medication adherence

       More effective drug treatment

       Reduced incidence of adverse effects and unnecessary healthcare costs

Counseling Area

       The patient should be counseled in : -semi-private or Private area

       Away from other people and distractions, depending on the medication(s)

       The patient should perceive the counseling area as  



              -conducive to learning

       This helps ensure both parties are focused on the discussion, and minimizes  interruptions and distractions

Communication skills for effective counseling:

The counseling process uses verbal and non-verbal communication skills

Verbal communication skills are:-





Non-verbal communication skills are:-


                                                       -Facial Expression

                                                       -Eye Contact

                                                       -Body Language

Steps during Patient Counseling

       Counseling is a two-way communication process

       Interaction between the patient and the pharmacist is essential for counseling to be effective

       The following are the steps to be followed during patient counseling

1) Preparing for the session

2) Opening of the session

3) Counseling content

4) Closing the session

Process Steps

1) Establish caring relationships with patients as appropriate to the practice setting and stage in the patient’s health care management

       Introduce yourself as a pharmacist, explain the purpose and expected length of the sessions, and obtain the patient’s agreement to participate

       Determine the patient’s primary spoken language

2) Assess the patient’s knowledge about:

       His or her health problems and medications

       Physical and mental capability to use the medications appropriately

       Attitude toward the health problems and medications

       Ask open ended questions about each medication’s purpose and what the patient expects,

        Ask the patient to describe or show how he or she will use the medication

       They should also be asked to describe any problems, concerns, or uncertainties they are experiencing with their medications

3) Provide information orally and use visual aids or demonstrations to fill patients’ gaps in knowledge and understanding

       Open the medication containers to show patients the colors, sizes, shapes, and markings on oral solids

        For oral liquids and injectable, show patients the dosage marks on measuring devices

       Demonstrate the assembly and use of administration devices such as nasal and oral inhalers

       As a supplement to face-to-face oral communication, provide written handouts to help the patient recall the information

4) If a patient is experiencing problems with his or her medications, gather appropriate data and assess the problems

       Then adjust the pharmacotherapeutic regimens according to protocols or notify the prescribers

5) Verify patients’ knowledge and understanding of medication use

       Ask patients to describe or show how they will use their medications and identify their effects

       Observe patients’ medication-use capability and accuracy and attitudes toward following their pharmacotherapeutic regimens and monitoring plans

Counseling content

The counseling content is considered to be the heart of the counseling session. During this step the pharmacist explains to the patient:

       About his or her medications

       Treatment regimen

       Lifestyle changes such as diet or exercise may also be discussed

Topics commonly covered include: 

       Name and strength of the medication

       Reason why it has been prescribed or how it works

       How to take the medication

       Expected duration of treatment

       Expected benefits of treatment

       Possible adverse effects

       Possible medication or dietary interaction

       Advice on correct storage

       Minimum time duration required to show therapeutic benefit

       What to do if a dose is missed

       Special monitoring requirements, e.g blood tests

       Arrangements for obtaining further supplies

Barriers to effective communication

Barriers to effective communication include…



       Administrative or

       Time conflict

Physical Barriers

Environmental barrier

       Environmental barrier such as lack of privacy and furniture between patient and pharmacist which prevent effective communication

       It is come under physical barrier

Psychological barrier

Semantics: relate to meanings of words and symbols used in interpersonal communication

       Words only contain meaning in terms of people’s reactions to them

       Words can also have multiple meanings

       Therefore, effective patient communication requires the use of words that are carefully chosen

        Semantics is an example of a psychological barrier

       Negative attitude:

              - It is usually cased by lack of confidence

              -Pharmacist should strive to improve their talking skill through practice

Administrative barrier

       Administrative barriers such as management may view the lack of money compensated for communication as a reason not to communicate

        More money is made by prescribing medication, not caring for patients

Time barrier

       Time barriers are interlinked with administrative barriers because management is responsible for staffing levels as well as allocation of work duties

       Time limits are very common when it comes to pharmacists and patients

       Time restraints are often excuses not to counsel, though it often does not take very long


       Patient counseling is defined as providing medication information orally or in written form to the patients

       Verbal communication skills

Steps to be followed during patient counseling

1) Preparing for the session

2) Opening of the session

3) Counseling content

4) Closing the session

       Barriers of counseling session



       Administrative or

       Time conflict

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