Healthcare teams can use patients' self-measured blood pressure readings to confirm hypertension diagnoses and assess the efficacy of treatment and control. Use these three tips to ensure your patients get their BP right.
1. Demonstrate Device Use and Documentation
When you teach a patient how to use the monitor, ensure they have the correct cuff size and can position it on their bare arm. Then, show the patient how to turn on the device. After the cuff deflates, the device displays the reading. Explain the systolic and diastolic numbers and show the patient what to do if they experience an error or problem.
Show the patient how to document the data on paper or the computer, phone, or device. You can provide the patient with a paper measurement log, which also acts as a reminder of when to measure. Patients can document their BP readings twice in the morning and twice in the evening. If they miss BP measurements, they should leave that portion of the log blank and continue to the next section when the time comes.
2. Explain How To Prepare for Measuring
Another tip to ensure your patients get their blood pressure right is to explain how they should prepare for a reading. Patients should wait 30 minutes after exercising or consuming caffeine or tobacco to measure. They should use the bathroom if necessary and relax in a chair for five minutes before taking their blood pressure.
During measurement, patients should not talk, email, text, listen to music, or watch TV. Also, other people in the room should not talk during the reading. Furthermore, you should emphasize the importance of proper body positioning. The patient should sit in a chair with back support. Their legs should be uncrossed and their feet flat on the floor or another surface, such as a stool. They should support the cuffed arm on a flat surface, and the cuff should be at heart level.
3. Check for Understanding and Provide Resources
Finally, after you demonstrate and explain the process, have the patient state what they have learned. You can check for understanding, correct misconceptions, and answer questions.
Then, give the patient resources to successfully perform the steps at home. Encourage them to contact you with questions or concerns. Tell them to call your office if their systolic or diastolic measurements exceed certain parameters.
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