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Health Literacy and Patient Education

Uphold CR. Health Literacy and Patient Education. Poster session presented at: Molloy College Center for Nursing Research and Scholarly Practice Reception and Session Meeting; 2009 Nov 11; Rockville, MD.


BACKGROUND:Stroke is the leading cause of serious long term disability, affecting more than 4 million people in the United States. The majority of stroke survivors are discharged home with the burden of continuing care and recovery shifting to informal caregivers, often family members who have little preparation and training. Stroke caregivers typically lack information necessary to manage the recovery process at home. Health care providers also do not have easy access to current patient education materials for stroke survivors and their families and friends. OBJECTIVES:The primary objective of the study is to implement low-literate, culturally sensitive, useable and appropriate informational materials that will be linked with the VA's national, interactive website, My HealtheVet. These information materials will increase the knowledge of family caregivers and providers, which will result in improvements in the health-related quality of life for stroke survivors. METHODS:Prior to creating our informational materials, we used data from our previously conducted caregiver research studies to identify informational needs of stroke caregivers. We collected and analyzed currently available stroke caregiver information from the My HealtheVet (MHV) Web site, as well as other sites like the American Stroke Association (ASA). We identified gaps in the currently available information and developed 43 fact sheets on stroke and stroke caregiving topics. The educational materials for this project were designed to be easy-to-read and user friendly. For example, to increase understanding and clarity we followed basic guidelines for developing culturally relevant educational materials for a low-literate audience. We used an interactive format, bullets, and brief, direct, positive active statements. We used the Flesch-Kincaid reading guide level tool to assure that all of the educational materials were at the reading level of seventh grader or lower. STATUS:The 44 informational fact sheets are available in downloadable, printer-friendly documents on the RESCUE website: FINDINGS:Providers and informal caregivers voiced primarily positive statements about the printed informational materials. The fact sheets were noted to be easy-to-read, brief, and well organized. Suggestions from caregivers focused on including more content about how to deal with behavioral and physical changes after stroke, and how to address the handling of finances. Revisions were made to the fact sheets based on the feedback obtained from participants. IMPACT:Providing patient/family education materials in an easy-to-read, easy-to-understand, and visually appealing format leads to greater acceptance and use of the materials.

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