Health Literacy Gap Analysis

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As a health care provider it’s easy to overlook patients’ personal difficulties while we are concentrated on their deprived health status and external wounds. We automatically make assumptions as we live in a first world country that everyone is provided with the same level of education as us. While in reality, we are home to millions of Americans currently living in poverty with the lowest literacy rates. What is Health Literacy? Health Literacy is described as the level an individual is capable to read, write, and understand the information they are given to make their own medical decisions based on their knowledge of their health status. (Dickens, Lambert, Cromwell, & Piano, 2013). It differs from literacy because literacy is defined as…show more content…
The most significant lesson I learned was that developing a therapeutic relationship with our patients can help them feel less overwhelmed in health care surroundings and gain confidence to ask questions. Patients with low health literacy tends to experience more pressure and concern due to their lack of understanding for medical procedures and fear to ask questions, not wanting to seem “stupid”. I also learned instead of asking what level of education they can read or understand, it’s a better question to ask if the patient can read at all (McCune, Springfield, & Pohl,…show more content…
There are various methods to adjust health care services into becoming more approachable for low literacy patients. We shall let our society be aware of the problem and accommodate to the needs of low literacy people in our health care facilities. While communicating we must talk with sensitivity, allow the patients to speak out their opinions, respect their values, goals, and beliefs, and act with acceptance. Often times, while connecting with our patients can have the ability to heal them, but others times it can hurt the patient. We must not make any assumptions about the patients, we overestimate people’s reading levels because we are not in their position and we do not think about how something so “easy” to us can be such a challenge for others. Nurses should expertise in communication to understand their patients better and help them avoid humiliation and anxiousness. We believe in holistic care, which means caring for the whole body. Therefore, their feelings and emotions matter just as much as their health, rather they can read or
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