What are the implications for adults who have limited literacy skills?

What are the implications for adults who have limited literacy skills?

Individuals with weak reading abilities are less educated about their health issues, have greater hospitalization rates, higher health-care expenses, and have a worse health condition (Weiss et al., 2005). Those that do not understand their medical reports or prescriptions may not take them as prescribed which could be dangerous for them. Medical professionals should try to provide patients with adequate information in a way they can understand.

Adults with poor writing skills are at risk of being misled by deceptive advertising practices. For example, studies have shown that consumers believe online reviews from strangers are more accurate than those written by people who know the product well (Porter & Teal, 2012). This is because readers trust reviews from other users - especially if these reviews sound authoritative or come from popular websites - so will likely choose to use these instead of reading labels themselves.

Those who cannot read food labels may not choose foods that contain healthy ingredients like fruit and vegetables or may eat too much processed meat, salt, and sugar. The same goes for medications: those who cannot read labels may not take their pills as recommended or may consume too many tablets per day. Again, this is because individuals trust labels and therefore assume that what is written on them is correct. Labels should include all the information required by law, but even when they don't, people still rely on them to make informed decisions about their health.

How does literacy affect health care?

Patients with low literacy have less health-related information, receive less preventative treatment, have poorer management of their chronic diseases, and are hospitalized more frequently than other patients, according to studies. Health professionals who lack adequate literacy skills themselves are at risk of rendering important information about medications, tests, procedures, and appointments incorrectly or not at all.

How has the U.S. health care system affected literacy?

The U.S. health care system is expensive and inefficient. It is also extremely complex; many people do not understand how it works or why they should be paying so much for its services. As a result, many people with low literacy levels are forced to make difficult decisions about their health care without help from anyone who can explain what is happening to them or offer suggestions on how to handle problems they may encounter.

What is the correlation between literacy and health?

There is strong evidence that shows an association between literacy and health. Low literacy levels are very common among patients with chronic illnesses such as heart disease, diabetes, cancer, and asthma. These individuals are more likely to have unmet needs regarding their health care than others due to difficulties understanding medical instructions, medication labels, appointment letters, and other forms of health communication.

What is the effect of the low literacy rate?

When compared to people with greater levels of literacy, low literacy levels are frequently associated with worse health outcomes, such as higher rates of hospitalization and more frequent outpatient visits, according to study. Less obvious but also important, low literacy may affect how patients interact with their doctors. For example, patients who cannot understand written information from health care providers or surveys completed by health professionals may not provide accurate answers to questions asked during examinations or interviews.

The American Medical Association defines patient literacy as "the ability to read and understand medical instructions, prescriptions, and forms needed to participate in one's own healthcare." The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services states that "less than half (46%) of all adults over the age of 18 are considered proficient readers" of English. According to the National Institutes of Health, approximately 15 million Americans have limited literacy skills, which makes them vulnerable to misunderstanding medical instructions.

Doctors who treat patients with low literacy levels should be aware that these individuals may not be able to comprehend basic information about their conditions or treatments. Patients with low literacy levels may require additional time to explain tests results or procedures after they have received them. They may also need help reading materials related to their care. Healthcare providers should take special steps to ensure that patients with low literacy levels receive appropriate services and accommodations, including having a translator present for conversations with patients who do not speak English.

What are the other impacts of low health literacy other than poor health outcomes?

Low health literacy has been linked to poor health outcomes such as poorer health status [7-9], lack of knowledge about medical conditions and related care, lack of engagement with health care providers, decreased comprehension of medical information, mortality, and poorer use of health care services. It has also been associated with negative attitudes toward health care professionals and perceptions of unfair treatment by physicians or nurses.

How does health literacy influence health outcomes? Low health literacy can lead to poor health outcomes by preventing people from making informed choices about their health or engaging with health care providers. It can also have an impact at a societal level, for example, by increasing the rate of hospital admissions due to misunderstandings between patients and doctors. Health outcomes can be influenced by health literacy in different ways, depending on the context. For example, inadequate health literacy may result in poor medication adherence, which in turn can lead to poor health outcomes.

What are some examples of how low health literacy can affect health outcomes? People who have low health literacy may not understand medications instructions or labels, thus reducing their chances of taking their medications as prescribed. This can be particularly problematic if the patient needs to take multiple medications, since failure to comply with even one dose schedule could have serious consequences. Patients who do not understand their medications may also misinterpret them as being harmful when they are not.

What are the potential barriers to health literacy?

A person's health literacy can be influenced by a variety of circumstances, including poverty, education, race/ethnicity, age, and disability. Adults living in poverty have worse health literacy than adults living in affluent areas. Poor readers tend to experience greater difficulty reading medical materials than do others. Minority groups may also face barriers to health literacy. For example, people who speak English as a second language tend to have lower health literacy than those who speak it as their first language. Individuals with disabilities may have trouble reading or writing, learning or remembering information, or using computers. People with low health literacy may not be able to understand their doctors' instructions or medications' labels, ask questions about their health care providers' recommendations, or communicate needs and preferences to their physicians.

Poor handwriting is another common barrier to health literacy. Doctors' offices and hospitals often require that patients fill out electronic forms before visits or tests. If the writing on these forms is too small or unclear, patients may have trouble completing them. Patients who cannot read or write themselves are often assisted by someone who can help them fill out medical documents. Professionals who assist patients with paperwork include nurses, social workers, and rehabilitation counselors.

Adults without high school diplomas are more likely to have poor health literacy than are those with higher levels of education. This may be because they come from families without sufficient income to pay for interpreters when needed.

About Article Author

Kathryn Knopp

Kathryn Knopp is a skilled therapist who has been working in the field for over 10 years. She has helped hundreds of people with their mental health issues, including things like anxiety, depression, and PTSD. She also does some work with couples, families, and friends of people who are struggling with relationship issues.

Related posts