Oncology Essentials

Applying Health Literacy Principles: Strategies and Tools to Develop Easy-to-Read Patient Education Resources

Jacqueline D. Foster

Lensa Idossa

Lih-Wen Mau

Elizabeth A. Murphy

health literacy, Patient education, health communication
CJON 2016, 20(4), 433-436. DOI: 10.1188/16.CJON.433-436

Health literacy is an important construct in health care that affects patient outcomes and overall health. The impact of limited health literacy in cancer care is wide, and it can affect patients’ ability to make treatment decisions, follow directions on a prescription label, or adhere to neutropenic precautions. This article describes strategies and tools for nurses to use when developing written patient education resources in their daily practice.

At a Glance

  • Health literacy refers not only to the skills and abilities of patients, but also of those providing health education and care, including nurses.
  • Oncology nurses play an important role in patient education and can reduce the negative impact of limited health literacy by assessing patients for learning barriers, providing verbal teaching, and evaluating comprehension.
  • Nurses must have the skills to apply health literacy principles to written patient education resources.
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