How do you empower your patients to manage their diabetes particularly those with low functional health literacy?


#1

Limited health literacy is common in patients with diabetes and has been associated with worse diabetes outcomes. Health literacy is a measure of patient’s ability to read, comprehend, and act on medical instructions. Although knowledge does not necessarily predict outcomes, efforts should be made to focus on improving educational outreach for patients with inadequate health literacy.

Studies show that patients recall as little as 50% of what was conveyed during an outpatient visit. To enhance recall, it is recommended for clinicians to elicit patient’s understanding of new concepts and adapt relevant information particularly for patients with low functional health literacy as this may have important clinical implications.

How do you empower your patients to manage their diabetes particularly those with low functional health literacy?


#3

When literacy level is low, one of the things I have found very useful is using models, pictures and even drawing pictures to enable the client understand. In my practice of the past seven years I have also realised that I need to eliminate medical jargon from my communication will all clients. My principle is that " endeavor to explain it as if it were to my grandmother who never went to school". Simplicity goes a long way. It is also important to ask the client to tell you what they have understood from the discussion in their own words. Use narratives and examples that resonate with their social surroundings and they can easily relate to. Keep it simple and short - and provide pictures, photos and locally available models etc to explain issues, demonstrate skills and to help them remember. Demonstrate skills and have them demonstrate back (reflection) do not just let them go away with an explanation. Most important, repeat time and again (knowledge reminders and skill demonstration). Engage them amicably and make them feel they have a key role to play and their input is highly valued. In practice, I have several clients who are illiterate who are doing tremendously well in self care and achieving their selfcare targets.