Examination of health education preferences of older adults with inadequate health literacy




Spears, Kathleen N.

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Inadequate health literacy is a problem. Individuals with inadequate health literacy skills have poor self-care and disease management capabilities, make multiple medications errors and have a propensity towards longer and more costly hospital stays, all of which lead to excessive healthcare expenditures of more than $70 billion spent annually due to inadequate health literacy (Gazmararian, et al., 1999; AMA, 2000). While the impact of inadequate health literacy on health outcomes has been widely investigated, there is a lack of research into methods of reducing that impact (Bresolin, 1999).

The purpose of this study was to identify the health literacy skills of older adults and the preferred type, design and delivery of health education materials for older adults with inadequate health literacy. Subsequently, it was the goal to provide a basis from which healthcare practitioners can create effective health education materials as a method of reducing the impact that poor health literacy skills has on health outcomes. A convenience sample of 25 participants was selected from a senior health care clinic affiliated with a large public healthcare system located in North Texas. To assure sameness of sample in terms of morbidity, only patients with both diabetes mellitus and hypertension were invited to participate in this study. The Short Test of Functional



Health and environmental sciences, Social sciences, Education, Health education, Health literacy, Older adults