Dr. Alex Jimenez, D.C., presents how the SBAR method is used in a clinical approach in a chiropractic office. Since pain in the body is one of the most common complaints worldwide, many individuals can be referred to the right healthcare professional to have a better understanding of what is happening to their bodies and have their health and wellness restored. We refer patients to certified providers specializing in treatments to aid individuals suffering from various chronic issues associated with muscle and joint pain affecting their bodies. We also guide our patients by referring them to our associated medical providers based on their examination when it’s appropriate. We find that education is the solution to asking our providers insightful questions. Dr. Alex Jimenez, D.C., provides this information as an educational service only. Disclaimer
What Is The SBAR Method?
Dr. Alex Jimenez, D.C., presents: The term SBAR stands for situation, background, assessment, and recommendation. It is a communication method that many chiropractors or healthcare professionals use to help simplify communicating patient information to other healthcare team members. And the whole goal of the SBAR method is to help us strategically and systematically share a patient situation along with the background of that patient, the assessment findings that we have found, and recommendations that we recommend to that specific individual so they can easily understand what we need, want, and what is going on with that patient in a very clear and focused way. So the SBAR method can help the chiropractor or massage therapist stay organized whenever they’re having to communicate and cut out unnecessary information that may be in the conversation that wastes time or may confuse the listener and help prevent those moments where the specialist may get questions from the person they are talking to, and they may not know.
The SBAR method allows chiropractors to communicate efficiently with patients about where the pain is located in their bodies. So the SBAR will help many health professionals stay organized. Some examples of the SBAR method used for communication include: a nurse needs to speak with a healthcare provider like a physician, a nurse practitioner, or a PA to let them know that the patient’s condition is deteriorating, and they need to call and report that. If they need something for that patient, the healthcare provider can follow the SBAR method, which will help them clearly and concisely communicate that issue to the listener. Chiropractors can also use the SBAR to share with other associated medical providers or massage therapists when they have a patient’s report to be handed or transferred to a different unit.
The SBAR method can be used with other healthcare team members, like speech therapy, occupational therapy, chiropractic therapy, and physical therapy. This method helps and guides chiropractors with what information they need to provide to the patient, so they can fully understand what is going on with them. An example would be a patient coming into a chiropractic clinic with back pain; however, they are experiencing gut issues and having areas of complaints in their hips, causing mobility issues. So by using the SBAR method, chiropractors and other healthcare providers can communicate better with their patients and develop a solution with the APPIER process and a treatment plan that caters to the individual. When creating your SBAR to communicate better with someone, it’s better to ensure that you are fully prepared before initiating that conversation. Having a little system to comply with the SBAR method can help you quickly and allow you to note what is happening with the patient in your head or take note of their condition. Getting the layout of the SBAR method is the first step, and many healthcare units will have them created so the doctor can fill them in and put all the information they need when they call or talk to their patients.
Chiropractors using the SBAR method would go into the room, look at that patient, assess that patient, collect their vital signs and look in the chart, look at the latest progress now, and know who’s on board taking care of that patient. The SBAR method also allows the doctor to review that patient’s chart thoroughly and understand what’s going on with that patient. So by the time they step into the room, they will have an idea of what is going on with the patient when those questions come up. Plus, when they have looked at the latest lab results from their associated medical providers. They can have an insight into what medication the patient is taking because those questions will probably come up and be included in the SBAR method. This will allow the chiropractor to gather all that information from the patient and be comfortable and ready to initiate the conversation.
Dr. Alex Jimenez, D.C., presents: Now let’s look at each of the sections of the SBAR method. Since the SBAR method is very focused and concise with communication, it is straightforward. So the situation is the first thing you’re going to start with whenever you’re communicating using the SBAR method. So by having your computer on that specific patient, doctors can easily look at something in case the person asks them a question and have the information in front of them quickly. So with the situation, just as it says, the goal is to communicate why the patient is calling. That’s its purpose, as it helps start things off and allows the doctor and the patient to introduce themselves and briefly explain what is going on with their bodies. An example would be a person with back pain introducing themselves to the chiropractor and vice versa and briefly describing where they are in pain.
Dr. Alex Jimenez, D.C., presents: The background portion of the SBAR method helps paint a picture of what the patient is going through and will provide a brief description of the situation. Then after that, we’ll go straight into the patient’s background, and this part of the communication will be very focused again. And how you would transition from situation to background in the SBAR method by going into the patient’s diagnosis. So the patient was admitted with whatever diagnosis on the date of admission. Then the chiropractor will tailor and include important patient information based on what the patient is experiencing pain-wise. The pain can vary from each person and can affect the body differently.
Many doctors can include the patient’s code status and discuss any other significant health problems that accompany the patient’s current situation. An example would be if a person is dealing with cardiac issues, their primary doctor can ask them if they had any health history with cardiovascular disorders, medications for heart diseases, chest pain, etcetera. Getting their background history can provide many doctors with a treatment plan that won’t cause any issues for the patient. When chiropractors work with other healthcare professionals, they can provide a background history of the patient, including bloodwork, previous procedures, and any additional information to develop a treatment plan. Along with consults, what other doctor groups are on board with this patient and any pending procedures the patient may have? That lets them know, okay, I don’t need to order this test or product because they will be having this procedure.
Dr. Alex Jimenez, D.C., presents: The next section of the SBAR method is the assessment part, where the doctor will tell the patient what they have assessed or found in the patient. Many healthcare professionals, like chiropractors, provide those assessment findings and current vital signs to back up what they think is going on. An example would be a functional medicine doctor explaining to the patient what they found in their body, like possible respiratory, cardiac, or GI issues, and what they think is going on based on what they discovered.
But let’s say, for example, that the nurse or doctor doesn’t know; however, they know that something’s wrong with the patient and they need something. In this situation, the doctor or the nurse can take note of what is going on with the patient and explain to their associated medical providers that they are worried or that the patient is deteriorating; they’re unstable and have changed from when they previously saw them. By using the SBAR method, chiropractors can asses the situation the patient is dealing with and provide insightful solutions to develop a treatment plan for the patient.
Dr. Alex Jimenez, D.C., presents: And finally, the final part of the SBAR method is recommendations. So recommendations are where the doctor communicates with the patient on what they want or need. By laying out the framework from using the SBAR method, the recommendation part allows the doctor to specifically communicate with the patient on what needs to be done to improve their health and wellness. An example is if a patient is dealing with gut issues associated with metabolic syndrome and their doctor gives them a treatment plan to incorporate more nutritional foods in their diets, exercising more and getting an adjustment from a chiropractor can help alleviate pain affecting their backs or hips.
Since body pain is one of the most common complaints worldwide, chiropractic care can assist in managing the symptoms associated with joint and muscle pain while being cost-efficient and non-invasive. Utilizing the SBAR method in a chiropractic clinic can give the chiropractor the right tools to develop a treatment plan for the individual to relieve any pain affecting their body. Chiropractic care can also use the APPIER method combined with the SBAR method to fully alleviate any disorder in the body structure to restore a person’s health and wellness.
The information herein on "The Clinical Approach To SBAR In A Chiropractic Clinic" is not intended to replace a one-on-one relationship with a qualified health care professional, or licensed physician, and is not medical advice. We encourage you to make your own healthcare decisions based on your research and partnership with a qualified healthcare professional.
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Dr. Alex Jimenez DC, MSACP, CIFM*, IFMCP*, ATN*, CCST
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