Home Health & Hospice

Insider’s Scoop | Evaluating health literacy

Homecare Insider, December 14, 2015

This week’s Insider's Scoop is from The Post-Acute Care Guide to Maintenance Therapy, Cindy Krafft PT, MS and Diana L. Kornetti, PT, MA. This guide contains both regulatory information and analysis as well as hands-on, practical advice for care and documentation. Expert authors Cindy Krafft PT, MS and Diana L. Kornetti, PT, MA provide guidance specific to each post-acute care setting, along with tips from consultants, tools from the Center of Medicare Advocacy, and information from CMS.

Health literacy is the ability to read, understand, and act on health information.
Giving a patient a handout or even verbal instruction and simply asking “Do you understand?” is not effective in terms of evaluating patient understanding. This is the critical difference between providing patient education and receiving patient education.

It’s helpful, especially on an initial assessment, to evaluate health literacy. Unfortunately, this becomes trickier for those who have difficulty reading (and who often have low health literacy as a result) because they usually have spent their lives actively hiding their affliction from just about everyone they come into contact with.
Certain “red flag” behaviors indicate that a person may have difficulty reading and thus is prone to low health literacy.

These are:
• Opening pill bottles to identify medication, as opposed to reading the label
• Eyes wandering over the page
• Taking a long time to complete forms
• Wanting friends/family members in the room during patient education interactions

Click here to order your copy of The Post-Acute Care Guide to Maintenance Therapy or to get more information.