Health Literacy

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Health Literacy

Generally, majority of nurses normally take for granted how much patients have are aware of their health conditions. However, the fact is they do not know that much, and by trying to overestimate their level of health of literacy, nurses are hindering their means to recovery (Lewis, Heitkemper, & Dirksen, 2004). Therefore, with current new standards in health care extending into impacts entailing more patient engagement in their own care, it is very imperative to properly conduct effective health literacy assessment.

In conducting the assessment, it is in order to appreciate that with the insufficient health literacy results into poor patient care outcome, high rates of re-admission, high rate of installation, high healthcare cost, and increased in the ineffective management of chronic illness (Anderson, Allee, & Medical Library Association, 2004). Therefore, with such scenario, nurses have a special opportunity to ensure tremendous differences are affected in the healthcare system simply by improving the health literacy of patients. Communication both verbal and written being the key, nurses must not only be able to issue instruction to the patients, but also should be capable assessing whether the patients clearly understand the instructions. When speaking or training the patients on how to improve on their health literacy, the nurse should know how to put aside the medical jargons and talk professionally using the plain language that the patient can understand to improve their literacy.

In the processing of imparting health information to the patients, the nurse should organize the health information he or she is delivering such that the most important points are stated first. In addition, the information given to the patients should be broken down in simple pieces that are easy to understand. The nurses should also adopt using simple languages and even offer the correct definitions of any technical medical terms that might be hard for the patients to understand, and in doing this, patients literacy level with greatly improve (Chisolm, 2007). Apart for presenting information both in active and interested voice, the nursing should also made available information sources including websites, journals, books and so on, this will enhance their access to information.

Websites, social media, online health care handouts and books as some of the most important resources to consider recommending to patients for evaluating online health information. The sources would be beneficial since they contain sufficient and diverse health information that would allow the patient to due comparison and make informed health care decision (Felkey, Fox, & Thrower, 2006). However, it is important for the patient to note that even though most of these online health resources are helpful, but others may at times prove to be incredible and presents either misleading or inaccurate health information.

As part of the strategies for improving the health literacy of patients, nurses should help their patients to easily access, obtain, process, and understand health in order to enable them to be capable of making their own treatment decisions (In Moore, & Canadian Paediatric Society, 2015). Another strategy, the health system should also encourage better communication of health-related information while at the same time making more simple the demand it actually places on the patients. Still as part of the strategies for improving the health literacy of the patients, the patients and their families must also be encouraged to acknowledge their responsibility to get informed as well as getting more vigilant in protecting their health especially against chronic diseases such cancers, obesity and diabetes.


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