The three core principles of the dialogue tools are:
- Participation: Participants in patient education should discover and develop their own abilities to handle life with a chronic disease. Thus, all the tools strive towards creating participation and dialogue among participants. By using images, quotations, statements and game elements, the participants are encouraged to articulate their thoughts, experiences and considerations and to share them with others.
- Dialogue: The tools are means to enable a person-centred, dialogue based approach to education, but they cannot stand alone. They can be integrated in different education session and they require that the educator holds the necessary professional and educational competences. In addition, it is the way tools are brought into use rather than the tools in themselves that adds value to the education sessions.
- Flexibility: The tools can be used in a flexible manner. The educator can choose to use a single tool or combine multiple – or all – tools for a new education program. The tools should be adapted to the local context, so that educators make the tools fit into their specific context and not the other way around.
The concept consists of 24 tools within the following categories:
Reflection and experience
The tools can enable the participants to reflect and to talk about their own experiences in relation to life with a chronic illness.
Motivation and goal
The tools can help participants identify with their inner motivation for change, priorities and targeted action.
Knowledge and learning
The objective of the tools is to present medical knowledge so that it is specially designed to match the participants’ needs and to build on their experiences and knowledge.
Body and senses
The tools stimulate the participants’ experiences through body and senses. The three tools do not include printable material, but step-by-step instructions on how to carry out different exercises.
The health education toolbox has been tested in 45 patient education settings throughout Denmark. Following the tests, the toolbox and the publication “In balance with chronic illness” have been revised to feature new insight.