This gives them the opportunity to correct any miscommunications on the spot so you can feel prepared to take charge of your health after the appointment and beyond. Health literacy is important because it can affect your ability to Make good decisions about your health Get the medical care you need. Older adults and their caregivers need reliable health information to prevent and manage disease, promote their health and follow public health recommendations and warnings. Rasmussen College does not guarantee, approve, control, or specifically endorse the information or products available on websites linked to, and is not endorsed by website owners, authors and/or organizations referenced. Health information and systems have become increasingly complex and harder to understand. One main reason why health literacy is very important is because it allows us to properly communicate with our doctor. This could be a family member or friend, a home health nurse or a patient care coordinator. Many healthcare facilities have adopted programs or systems designed to improve their patients’ health literacy. Fill out the form to receive information about: There are some errors in the form. The National Action Plan to Improve Health Literacy encourages alternate forms of communication, such as using simplified language and videos to share information with patients. People with low literacy skills also may have trouble understanding what their doctor or other healthcare provider tells them. Health literacy means your ability to collect and understand your health information so you can make the best decisions for your unique situation. Being able to understand health information and make decisions from that information is vital to a person's well-being. Almost all breast cancer treatments have varying degrees of risk for nausea and vomiting. Health literacy skills allow patients to take control of their own well-being by making smart healthcare choices, improving their communication with doctors and giving them the information they need to advocate for themselves in a medical setting. At some point in your life, you will need to be able to use and understand health information and services. 03.16.2020, Anjali Stenquist | The official definition of health literacy is an individual’s ability to “obtain, communicate, process, and understand basic health information and services,” according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).1 Just like reading literacy gives you skills to understand and use written information, health literacy refers to the skills you need to understand and make decisions about your health. Think of how often you use your own reading skills in everyday life. Nurses have a professional and ethical obligation to communicate in a clear, purposeful way that addresses the unique information n … “It is the ability of patients, caregivers, family members and the public to understand what doctors and other health care providers are communicating,” says Deann Jepson, senior program director at Advocates for Human Potential. Once your eyes have been opened to the importance of health literacy, it might just permanently change the way you think about healthcare and the challenges facing those looking to improve health outcomes at a broader scale. Orthopedic nursing, 28(1), pp. Subscribe to our podcast for conversations on the issues that matter most. Limited health literacy is associated with lower health outcomes, increased rates of hospitalization, decreased use of preventative services, poor health management, and higher costs. A person with low literacy skills may not be able to understand the instructions on a prescription label. © 2020 Breastcancer.org - All rights reserved. Although the phrase might be new to you, the idea behind it has an important impact on your health and wellness. Those programs are helpful for improving health literacy on a national scale, but there are also steps you can take to make health literacy a priority in your everyday life. Other characteristics related to health literacy include psychosocial skills, self-efficacy, expectations and experiences. Jepson agrees that plain, simple communication is the key to unlocking health literacy for everyone. And if there are barriers to communication, that collaborative ability breaks down. Where health literacy differs from these other social factors is that it is, potentially, open to change through improving health systems and building patient and public awareness and skills. A necessary component of health care decision making, health literacy impacts patients’ abilities to be engaged in their own health management. “Simply put, health literacy is how we receive, interpret and act on health information,” says Akeia Blue, health communications consultant at Be Health Literate. 02.03.2020, Anjali Stenquist | Broadly speaking, poor health literacy impacts adherence and compliance to medication. Health literacy is important because it helps people find the right health care and services, take care of a chronic condition or disease, or simply maintain their health and wellness. You’ve never heard the term before, but it sounds like something you should be aware of. Outcomes of good health literacy skills include things like people taking preventative action regarding their health. Learn more about our commitment to your privacy. Basic math skills: Measuring medicines, understanding nutrition labels, calculating blood sugar levels, and keeping track of insurance copayments and deductibles all require basic math skills such as addition, subtraction, and multiplication. The 2003 National Assessment of Adult Literacy found that approximately 77 million U.S. adults a re a t basic or below – basic health literacy.This represents a third of the U.S. population. She also emphasizes that patients don’t have to be on their own if they feel intimidated about a doctor’s appointment. Health literacy extends beyond the patient themselves. Mental health literacy is having knowledge about mental disorders by recognizing specific mental disorders, their cause, and knowledge of how to access mental health services. Studies have shown a link between low literacy and poor health outcomes. access to resources, including technology, their health issue involves a part of the body they don’t understand, they have to interpret statistics about the risks and benefits of a treatment or procedure, they’re diagnosed with a serious illness, such as breast cancer, and are emotionally upset, scared, and confused, they have a health condition that requires complex self-care, as a picture, graphic, or other visual image. 01.20.2020. Low health literacy predicts poor health more than any other factor—age, race, income, employment, or education. According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, health literacy is defined as “the degree to which individuals have the capacity to obtain, process and understand basic health information and services needed to make appropriate health decisions.” This piece of ad content was created by Rasmussen College to support its educational programs. External links provided on rasmussen.edu are for reference only. Health literacy issues of immigrants in non-English-speaking countries have received limited attention. Learn more about public health initiatives and how they affect you and your community in our article, “What Is Community Health and Why Is It Important?”, 1Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Health Literacy Basics [accessed October 2019] https://www.cdc.gov/healthliteracy/learn/index.html. It is equally important for health care organizations to be health literate. The lowest rates of health literacy were in minority and low income populations, as well as the elderly. To utilize and understand your health Get the medical care you need to understand information! Linguistically respectful of each patient institution by the Illinois Board of higher education in non-English-speaking countries have received limited.. Conversations on the issues that matter most healthcare services they need and to those! 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