Advanced Patient Navigation Certificate - Lesson 9: Health Literacy

Please watch the following recorded lecture, video, and respond to the discussion question below.

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Cultural Competency and Stressful Events


Delivering Bad News: Compare Approaches


Health Literacy and Cultural Understanding


Given your patient population, what would be useful resources and methods to ensure health literacy?

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5 comments on “Advanced Patient Navigation Certificate - Lesson 9: Health Literacy

  1. As a stroke navigator, we often end up breaking down diagnosis and evaluating learning needs.
    We often ask where they perceive their competency is (scale) for medication/condition knowledge and discuss with them what they think a stroke is, how to take medications, what are the risk factors of stroke, etc. We then utilize resources/guides, draw pictures/show pictures and talk through.
    We speak slowly and break down the information. We ask about understanding and get them to say it in their own words. We allow for questions.
    Due to our population we are constantly tweaking our strategy to address cognitive barriers, language barriers and vision barriers.

  2. Health literacy is a significant component of my role as a stroke navigator, as I often reiterate/translate/unpack messages provided by others.

    Sometimes the health information provided was unclear or too technical, the timing was not right, or it got lost in the mass of information patient/family received during a crisis. My role is intended to ensure patients/family can access the right information at the right time by serving as a resource they can contact as questions/needs arise. This is intended to relieve the pressure to process and understand information provided. I use some of the strategies identified in the videos such as plain language, defining terms, monitoring non-verbal cues and checking for understanding. I tend to emphasize people’s ability to use health information to make well-informed decisions based on their needs, values and goals rather.

    In addition, as stroke navigator, I support implementation of best practices for patient/family education across the continuum of stroke care. While I am not responsible for the delivery of health information, our organization's participation in Accreditation Canada's Stroke Distinction program ensures a commitment to certain level of engagement and accountability. I can highlight the need to assess, document and regularly update individualized learning needs and goals. Where possible, I advocate for interactive information, provided in multiple formats, formally and informally, with plenty of reinforcement of information

  3. Ways that I could support my client population would be to focus on specific communication techniques and questions at the initial assessment to ensure that clients understand the questions being asked and why they are being asked. Use visuals or diagrams to support understanding of treatment and goals. I would look at specific barriers to care and/or ability to access care. I would use reflective statements and to ensure that I understand what the client is communicating to me. Using communication techniques to build client rapport and give them an opportunity to ask questions and to feel comfortable to ask questions. Continue to follow up with clients to ensure understanding of their care.

  4. Ensuring health literacy in a mental health population is understanding how to obtain and maintain positive mental health, understand mental health problems and their treatments, decreasing stigma related to mental health problems and enhancing help-seeking efficacy. People are often unable to recognize the signs of distress in themselves or others which prevents them from seeking support. A lack of understanding with the general population can lead to discrimination and stigma towards those living with mental health problems. Knowing when and where to seek help and developing self-management skills increases peoples resilience and control over their mental health. Improved mental health literacy may reduce the burden on health and social care services and reduce health inequalities.

  5. Looking at my clients, I would say that there are many ways I can help ensure health literacy with my clients and provide them resources that are adapted to them, such as:

    What is their preferred method of learning? Visual, audio, etc.
    What are their barriers? Vision, ability to read, literacy, etc.
    I can ensure I ask open-ended questions and use some Motivational Interviewing skills
    Use materials together (ie: Your Stroke Journey) when in person or virtually
    Ensure that I speak slow and clearly using a simple language and give my clients time to ask questions and to make sure they understand the information being communicated to them

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