Have you ever heard instructions from a doctor or gone to a website to learn about a health condition and had no idea what they were trying to explain? It happens to all of us constantly! Health information is complicated, period. The same goes for information on disabilities.
What does this condition mean for my child?
Where can I go to get help and support?
How do I apply for these benefits?
Literacy vs. information: a mismatch
This mismatch means that many people have trouble following their treatment plans or improving their health habits. It also means that many people don’t get the services and benefits their children need because it’s just too hard to figure out how.
October is Health Literacy Month!
This is a time for anyone who offers health information to make a special effort to make it easier for people to understand.
What is Health Literacy?
Health literacy is the ability to find and use health information so you can take action to improve your health – and your family’s!
Health Literacy Includes:
Finding health information
Using it…acting on it…to live healthier!
These are skills that we all have trouble with, especially when we’re stressed, tired and emotional.
Research also shows that only 12% of U.S. adults can understand and use health information as well as they need to in order to stay healthy. This has a lot to do with the mismatch – the fact that the information is too complicated.
Let’s make it easier!
Providers and educators have a responsibility to ease this burden. How? By making their instructions and information easier for us all to understand.
How do we do this?
Use familiar words, not jargon
Keep sentences short
Stick to 3-5 main ideas at a time
Use more pictures and less text
Test written information with your intended audience – make sure it’s easy for them to understand
At Exceptional Lives, our goal is to make things easier for families and caregivers. So we use all these principles when we create our How-To Guides. We also use technology features to help. Here are some examples of how we do that:
Making it easier:
The bottom line:
We all need to make it easier for families to:
find the information they need to help their kids
understand it easily, and
take action to connect with services, benefits and support.
Check out Exceptional Lives – we make it easy!