Leaflets to discuss with patients

TARGET logo, showing some pills and the words TARGET, keep antibiotics workingUsing patient leaflets interactively in consultations is the best way to support effective discussions and maintain patient satisfaction.

Version 1.0, November 2021.


How to use these leaflets

Click on the links in the menu to access the individual leaflets, and see below for tips on how and why to use this type of communication tool.

Discussing A Leaflet Interactively In Your Consultations

Using patient leaflets interactively in consultations is the best way to support effective discussions and maintain patient satisfaction. Evidence from a Cochrane systematic review (Sullivan et al. 2016)and UK-based trials showed that using leaflets interactively with parents of children with respiratory tract infections (Francis et al. 2009), together with enhanced communication skills (Little et al. 2013) and delayed prescriptions (Little et al. 2005, Macfarlane et al. 2002) helps to:

  • Address patient/parent concerns: you can highlight information about symptoms and expected duration. 
  • Empower patients: you can provide specific examples of how to self-care for infections. 
  • Improve patient recall: patients are likely to better remember the consultation and your advice. 
  • Improve patient satisfaction and enablement: by covering information which addresses patient concerns.
  • Standardise advice: leaflets help deliver a more consistent approach to infection management in your practice. 
  • Support your advice: leaflets can provide objective evidence to support your explanations. 
  • Reduce antibiotic use: patients in trials who had consultations where leaflets were used interactively were prescribed and consumed fewer antibiotics.

How To Use Leaflets Interactively To Engage Patients

  • Introduce the leaflet early: patients may feel "fobbed off" if you just give them a leaflet at the end of the consultation without going through it. You can point to sections within a leaflet whilst you give your explanation about symptoms and management. 
  • Personalise the leaflet: you can add the patient's name and highlight sections which are relevant to them by filling in or circling sections. 
  • Provide options: you can give patients printed leaflets or send them by text message or email.

The TARGET 'Treating Your Infection’ leaflets for common infections are available in 25 languages and in a pictorial format. They all provide information on: 

  • Average symptom duration for common infections 
  • Self-care advice for patients/parents 
  • Safety-netting advice about when to reconsult