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ERIC Number: ED464208
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2001-Dec
Pages: 27
Abstractor: N/A
Reference Count: N/A
Health and Literacy: What Is the Connection?
Baergen-Fladager, Sharlene
Studies in Canada have shown that between 16 percent and 38 percent of Canadians are illiterate or have low literacy skills and, therefore, have difficulties in accessing and using medical care and medical information. They have also found a contributory connection between low literacy and poor health and over-use or inappropriate use of health care facilities, especially hospital emergency rooms, in low-literate communities in Canada. Many approaches can be suggested to ameliorate this problem. Although eliminating illiteracy and low literacy is the ideal, an interim solution is needed. Suggestions for health care professionals include the following: (1) awareness of the problem; (2) development of materials at the appropriate reading level; (3) assessment of patients' reading levels through simple tests in order to determine ability to comprehend medical instructions; (4) dissemination of medical literature written at low levels to all patients; (5) keep information dissemination simple and slow and put information in context of what patients already know; and (6) cooperate with literacy providers to develop health literacy programs. Appended are: techniques to improve patient information brochures for patients; 10 tips for better communication; and techniques that improve oral communication with patients. (Contains 19 references.) (KC)
Publication Type: Information Analyses
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: Canada