Health Literacy And Health Care

2161 Words Feb 27th, 2015 9 Pages
Health literacy as defined in Cromier & Kotrlik article “the ability to read, understand, and use health information to make appropriate health care decisions and follow instructions for treatment” (Cromier 2007). It is a problem that affects an estimated 47 million people in the US alone and costs an estimated 73 billion dollars a year. These costs come from increased hospitalizations, the use of less preventative medicine, as well as, the social stigma that comes with having poor health literacy stopping people from seeking treatment at all. Health literacy is an important skill that every person needs to effectively make decisions relating to health care, which includes not only general health, but also disease and illness management, and health plan management. It is a problem that nurses can help combat through the utilization of effective communication, the continuum of care, and as advocates for policy change. Effective communication includes both communications with the patient as well as other health providers. The continuum of care is primarily comprised of patient education and needs to include making sure patients understand what they are being taught. Lastly, nurses need to be involved in the avocation for policy change. That should include health facility policy, local policy, and national policy. These three critical areas can go a long way in improving the health literacy of the US and could potentially save the lives of many who are overlooked in the…
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