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What is Health Literacy?

What is Health Literacy?

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What is Health Literacy?

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  1. Removing barriers in healthcare: Looking at health literacy and health literacy friendly practices in Ireland Aoife O’Driscoll, NALA September 2015, DCU

  2. What is Health Literacy? I can’t believe I have... Health literacy is the ability to read, understand and act on health information. Your treatment is... Expectations, preferences and skills of individuals seeking health information and services meet Expectations, preferences and skills of those providing information and services It is about mutual understanding

  3. 40%of Irish people have limited health literacy. This means that 4 out of 10 people who use health services find it difficult to understand and act on health information. 1 in every 4 people has a difficulty with numbers

  4. What is Health Numeracy? • Health numeracy is the ability to understand and use quantitative health information, including: • basic calculations, and • information in documents and non-text formats such as graphs. Health information is full of number-based concepts

  5. Everyday Examples

  6. Why is health literacy important? One in five Irish people are not fully confident that they understand the information they receive from their healthcare professional (HCP). 43% of people would only sometimes ask their HCP to clarify the information if they did not understand something they had said. One in 10 people have taken the wrong dose of medication because they didn’t understand the instructions. 66% of people have difficulty understanding signs and directions in Irish hospitals. 2007 Irish Health Literacy Research

  7. 2015 Health Literacy Survey • 39% of Irish people calling for less medical jargon from their healthcare professionals • 17% of people surveyed said they had taken the wrong amount of medication on at least one occasion • People aged 15 - 34 years were least likely to ask a doctor, nurse or pharmacist to explain things they don’t understand • Embarrassment was ranked as the main reason for not seeking more information from a healthcare professional (24%) - this was marginally higher amongst 15 - 34 year olds in particular

  8. What is a health literacy friendly service? Many health services are looking at how they engage with their patients, particularly those who have difficulty reading and understanding health information. A health literacy friendly service takes account of the literacy and numeracy needs of its patients.

  9. How to improve your service? The first step in improving your service is being aware of the literacy and numeracy challenges that some of your patients face. The next steps involve you doing what you can to make it easier for all patients.

  10. Use Plain English • Plain English is a style of communicating information that helps someone understand it the first time they hear it. • Using plain English increases the chance that someone will understand what you have said to them – this saves time, and error. • The 2015 research showed that 39% of Irish people calling for less medical jargon from their healthcare professionals. • Example: Almost half (45%) of people surveyed couldn’t define the term ‘prognosis’.

  11. Common Jargon • Instead of Consider • acute sudden and severe • administer give • antenatal before birth • benign harmless • catheter tube • contagious spreading easily • contusion bruise • elective optional • epidermis skin • haemorrhagesevere bleeding • hypertension high blood pressure • intravenous through a vein • Instead of Consider • malignantharmful, cancerous • monitor keep track of • negative (test)you do not have, you are not • ophthalmic eye • physician doctor • positive (test)you have, you are • prognosis likely outcome, chance of recovery • renal kidney • respiration breathing

  12. Using the Teach Back technique WHY: Studies have shown that 40-80 percent of the medical information patients receive is forgotten immediately and nearly half of the information retained is incorrect. • Ask patients to repeat in their own words what they need to know or do, in a non-shaming way. • NOT a test of the patient, but of how well you explained a concept. • A chance to check for understanding and, if necessary, re-teach the information.

  13. Becoming literacy-friendly

  14. Conclusion

  15. Further information Sandford Lodge Sandford Close Ranelagh Dublin 6 Tel: (01) 412 7900 Email: Website: Crystal Clear Audit Tool: Plain English: Family:

  16. Removing barriers in healthcare: Looking at health literacy and health literacy friendly practices in Ireland Aoife O’Driscoll, NALA September 2015, DCU