What´S Health Literacy? Essay

1658 words - 7 pages

Advancing health literacy is a necessity, for both health professionals and the overall population. Health literacy isn’t only deemed on the level of education one has completed, it has numerous aspects to it. Having a proficient level of health literacy means one knows how to fill out forms/understand forms, knowing/having an idea of medications, reasons for and the risks and benefits associated, having a understanding of where to go for information and how to interpret content appropriately. One with poor health literacy is more likely to state their health as poor, compared to one with good health literacy. Health literacy levels change at different age populations, as they all have ...view middle of the document...

People that lack knowledge have problems with negotiating the nature and causes of disease, not only that but one may not understand the relationship between lifestyle factors and health outcomes, and this can prove to be fatal. Health literacy is important because only 12 percent of adults on average have proficient health literacy (national assessment of adult literacy) 9 out of 10 adults lack the skills to manage their personal health and 14% of adults have below basic health literacy – these adults are more likely to state their health as poor and are less likely to have health insurance compared to adults in the good health literacy bracket. Put simply, low health literacy has been linked with lower health outcomes, with a higher rate of hospitalization and less use of preventative services (Fact sheet: health literacy and health outcomes) Health literacy has a large relationship with primary health care, primary health care is the first level and entry point for further levels of health, everyone has to go through the system, so it is a simple check point as to when to assess the patients level of health literacy, and educate the topic.

The older population is becoming one of the larger populations in developed countries and remains the greatest proportion of adults who have inadequate health and literacy skills, and the research/implementation of programs for this population still remain in the early stages of development. Older adults are naturally more vulnerable to illnesses and the common colds etc., and use medical services and acquire more chronic illness than any other population segments. People older then 65 make nearly twice as many doctors visits every year compared to adults between 45 and 65. Two-thirds of older people are unable to understand the information given to tem about their prescribed medication, 71% of >60’s have difficulty using print materials, 80% have difficulty using documents such as understanding charts and filling out forms, while 68% have difficulty interpreting numbers and performing calculations (AMA, 2007). As a population group, elderly regularly struggle to remember medication names, only remembering the reason for the medication. They generally go to the same doctor and are willing to listen to what the doctor says and do as they say, and take any medication that is given to them. Although it might not be a successful medication, one will continue on taking it / not go back to the doctors, because the health professional said that it would work and they stick to their doctors word. Some barriers and reasoning behind the lack of health literacy includes the fact the older adults have Internet challenges, including the use of old computers or slow internet connection due to age of the system, they have fewer technological skills due to advancing technology and incapability to keep up, also the development of arthritis in their hands make functions such as mouse clicks difficult – and that’s depending...

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