Diabetes Patient Education Materials in the Veterans Administration Health Care System: Readability Suitability and Cultural Relevance for Older Veterans
Guinn, Marnita Jo
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The purpose of this study was to determine if diabetes patient education materials (PEM) were readable, suitable, and culturally relevant for older veterans. The conceptual framework of health literacy built on the Baum & Christiansen (2005) Person-Environment-Occupational Performance (PEOP) model as adapted by Smith & Hudson (2012) provided the structure for this study. McLaughlin's 1969 Simplified Measures of Gobbledygook (SMOG) formula was used to evaluate the readability of diabetes PEM for older veterans. Clayton's (2009) Tool to Evaluate Materials Used in Patient Education (TEMPtEd) instrument was used to evaluate the suitability of diabetes PEM for older veterans. Culturally relevant PEM characteristics for this audience included evaluating the presence or absence of: 1) pictures or references to an older adult; 2) relevant weight references related to diabetes content; 3) increased font size relevant to an older adult with potential vision limitations related to diabetes, and 4) military reference. A convenience sample of 111 diabetes PEM were obtained from the North, South, East, and West Texas Veterans Administration Health Care System (VA - HCS) through the Freedom of Information Act (FIA). Descriptive statistics and measures of central tendency were included in this descriptive cross-sectional research. VA-HCS diabetes PEM appeared suitable for older veterans. However, the readability of diabetes PEM for older veterans still needs additional improvement. Cultural relevance, especially font size 14 point or greater, was measurably lacking in the sample evaluated. Recommendations for future research were included.