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Health Literacy

Discuss about the Health Literacy and Promotion by Social Cognitive Means.

Nurses in Australia are known for playing a crucial role in enhancing the provision of health information to patients who come and seek medical attention in hospitals. They determine and influence the health literacy demands through education promotion strategies. They ensure the organization, presentation, and communication of information. This will help in improving the health requirements in the health sector through the establishment of an effective interpersonal communication. Strategies encompassing various activities have been devised as a request from the Nursing and Midwifery Board of Australia. This paper aims to discuss the health education plan such as Ask-me-3 intended to improve patient’s health literacy. It also uses the concept of health literacy as its scope by delving succinctly on an overview of the primary literature about the meaning and comprehension of health literacy as a concept. In the same manner, it also gives the analysis of how health education can empower the patient their knowledge as well as understanding and engagement with the health care system. Evidently, it is important to carry out an evaluation of the strengths and limitations of health education as it relates to health promotion (Hironaka, & Paasche-Orlow, 2008). Finally, the discussion of the intervention and its implementation is important for reinforcing health literacy programs in Australia.

Health literacy constitutes to the people’s ability to obtain, process, as well as comprehend the basic health services and information that are needed in the making of appropriate decisions. Alternatively, health literacy stands for the social and cognitive skills which are responsible for determining both the capability and motivation to understand, gain access to, and utilize the relevant information in a manner in which it enhances the promotion and maintenance of good health (Bennett, Chen, Soroui, & White, 2009). More precisely, health literacy means something more than just reading pamphlets and successes in making appointments. In fact, it is critical to the empowerment process by fostering the improvement of individuals’ access to information related to their health and the capacity to employ its use in an efficient way.

Various factors influence people’s level of health literacy. Primarily, the first factor is the level of education of a person or the general literacy skills or experience.

Less education is associated with lower health literacy because those endowed with the lowest level of education may not have been at any time in their lives exposed to similar medical terminologies as well as scientific concepts compared to those individuals with a higher education level. In a way, the physicians can play a critical role in bridging the gap that exists between the patients from different regions through the active process of identifying health consumers with a lower level of literacy. In addition, demographic culture is one of the factors that influence an individual's level of literacy. This is because people have differing cultural norms that make them have an uncomfortable feeling to the extent of not being sure on how to communicate effectively with a physician since their communication skills may be unreliable.  Lastly, age is also a factor that influences a person’s level of health literacy since the capability to read and write reduces with aging.

Factors that Influence Health Literacy

The improvement of health literacy results in the proper utilization of preventative resources since both patients and physicians would have an easy time in the treatment process. The importance of improving health literacy among patients is that everything would appear to be patient-centered through the influential mechanics of patient’s comprehension and internalization of the physician’s instructions on medication that has the potential of impacting on the management of chronic conditions such as high blood pressure, diabetes, or asthma (Olsson et al., 2013). As such, improving the literacy in the health care facilities helps in enhancing confidence among patients and clinicians (Olsson et al., 2013). With the improvement of health literacy in Australia, the accumulated problems due to health illiteracy would be minimized since patients will be equipped with relevant information to address issues that affect their overall health.

Health education plays a critical role in empowering patients to improve their knowledge, understanding, and engagement with the health care systems. It assists patients by enabling them to make more informed decisions to better their health outcomes.  This is by allowing the patients to possess and exploit their sense of individual control over their health as well as lives. It is common to see people with a lower health literacy getting lost in health care systems that are complicated and filled with complex forms, insurance premiums, and medical jargon among others such as multiple health care providers (Berkman et al., 2011). However, health education comes in to empower individuals to advance their knowledge through the creation of an enabling environment that reveals fruitful results upon its implementation. For example, when patients are exposed to health education they are empowered to cope with the health care systems and show signs of improvement in their health. This reveals the importance of health education since educated patients would know what to do next to get medical attention in a more efficient manner. In brief, health education delves in bolstering the operational efficacy of hospital practices (Gephart et al., 2013). In essence, the empowering process helps in a way that it increases the comprehension of the condition and the provision of consent by requiring the patients to employ the use of the key components of health literacy such as writing and reading. In this way, patients are empowered by health education to improve their knowledge, understanding, and engagement with the health care system.

It is evidenced that health education has a positive impact on the individuals' capacity to modify their own health behaviors and risk factors. Changes that occur as a result of fostering the education of the patients about their overall hygiene have the ability to change much faster than the anticipated dependence primarily on the age of a person who is undergoing the health education process (Bartholomew, Parcel, & Kok, 1998).  Health education has an impact in making the people keep off from the behaviors that lead to ill health. In enhancing the initiative of modifying individuals' health behaviors and risk factors, health education has an impact on enlightening people to move towards the adoption of life skills by encouraging the increment of consciousness about the factors that are influential to health (Feinstein et al., 2006). The impact is evidenced when people start to make informed decisions through the fostered outputs of empowerment brought about by health education. Primarily, the positive impact of education to the modification of their own behavior and risk factors is through the mediation of the relationship that exists between environmental as well as physical risk factors of health especially on its effect on the income of individuals.

Importance of Improving Health Literacy

By definition, health promotion entails the process of enabling individuals to bolster control over towards the improvement of their health. Usually, it transpires beyond the apparent focus on a person's conduct towards the myriad of both social and environmental interventions (Bandura, 2004. There are several strengths of health education as it relates to health promotion. Through health education, it is simple to accept the problems of health faced by any person since the sensitization process makes individuals to get a bigger understanding of matters as they present themselves in front of them. Besides, health education adheres and follows completely available scientific proofs, and as a result helps in analyzing the practical life of human bodies and comparing them to animals. In fact, one of its strengths is that it is the conscious subject of the community because it plays a remarkable role in creating many communicative instructions that support good health. When people are advised on the instructions of a prescription as instilled in health education forums, they are enabled to increase control over their health (Pender, Murdaugh, & Parsons, 2006). However, there is nothing that goes without imperfection. The limitation of health education is that an entirely acceptable learning system lacks in the world. As such, the state of the knowledge being passed to individuals may be substandard to the extent of not meeting recommended general requirements. In the process, it fosters the creation of a dilemma to people who may be interested to gain from the initiative. Naturally, this may be because people are confused on what to undertake to increase their level of health literacy (Paasche?Orlow et al., 2005). Mainly, health education is associated with the breaking of sacred trusts that have been the center of establishing peace and cohesiveness in the society. As such, it may change the prevailing beliefs of people towards a particular aspect of the disease and enhance religious ignorance. In a similar way, health education has the limitation of breaking costume and tradition.

According to PCHC (The Partnership for Clear Health) that was responsible for the launching of the Ask-Me-3 program, activity, or strategy, health literacy refers to the reading, understanding, and the most appropriate usage of basic medical instructions as well as information (Schloman, 2004). More importantly, it is one of the strongest predictors of an individual's health. The Ask-Me-3 program assists in fostering the improvement of health literacy among individuals from different cultural backgrounds as it involves simple activities through clear communication. The testing of this strategy was done by the sixth largest hospital found in Chicago, and it was predicted to expand its application across many hospitals in the world. Even Australian Hospitals considered implementing this intervention in improving communication between the patients and clinicians, which in the long run works towards the quality delivery of health care services (Wynia & Osborn, 2010). As such, the simple questions entailed in this program are actually based on three issues that medical consumers are required to ask their physicians. Originally, the questions were designed for patients who come and seek outpatient services. However, the application of these questions works well in any health care setting. The first question is "What is my biggest problem?" The second one is "What do I need to do?" The third question is "Why is it important for me to do this?” (Schloman, 2004) Mainly, the implementation of the program was done through studies that enhanced High-risk Patients information as well as knowledge (Marben, n.d). As part of the application process, patients' curiosity for their individual diagnoses is implementable using the At-home caring plans. Evidently, the role of the nurse or midwife in the process is teaching the patients in a manner that promotes the validation of patients' accurate understanding about their most fundamental health care needs (Weiss, 2007). They are responsible for knowing what to do, and the reason behind why the plan is so important (Schloman, 2004).

Health Education

Theoretically, the Ask-me-3 intervention was based on a pilot project that was one of the best collaborative efforts that existed between eight organizations. Each one of them had a commitment to improving the quality of health care service delivery and the subsequent health outcomes affecting the Wisconsin citizens. The intervention started as a project that had three major goals, which is to enhance the increment of patient engagement in their individuals’ care. It was also to raise patient satisfaction and its incorporation with each health facility visit. The last goal was to foster the improvement of patient providers interaction as well as communication. Mainly, the Ask-me-3 referred to an educational program that was developed by the Partnership for Clear Health Communication and selected on the basis of the readily available materials as well as the initial research that had been conducted to bolster the satisfaction of patients with medical visits. Primarily, this intervention was designed in a way that it encouraged health care consumers to be more engaged and interested in their own care through the initiative of both asking and understanding the answers that result from the three relevant queries at every visit.

Ask-me-3 is one of the interventions that seem to work in fostering clear communication between the physicians and patients in a healthcare setting. It is one of the easiest interventions that can be used by nurses or midwives in Australia. This is because it has an impact on the rate of awareness among individuals with different professional and cultural backgrounds. This is because it makes them be aware of the matters that concern their general health in a way that is more open and free to engage in discussions. Being an intervention that has not received a widespread application, it affects the health literacy concerns of consumers in the healthcare sector through its noticeable one-on-one strategies. In such a way, this intervention can yield positive results for a given set of populations by the inclusion of increased realization of concepts among patients regarding their medical condition and presents the importance and the approach of how to enhance its management. This impact can ensure that there is a reduction in the number of admissions to hospitals because patients will now be able to know how to manage chronic conditions without being nervous of what would happen next if they fail to see the doctor. As long as the initial communication between the physician and the patient using Ask-me-3 program is done, then there would be no reason to panic since one can easily manage chronic conditions as directed by initial clear communication (Hurley et al., 2009). In this way, an increase in the literacy levels would be reached.

Almost all programs or interventions have barriers that stand to decrease their implementation in any project. For the Ask-me-3 intervention, its implementation is barred by low health literacy to a patient as well as service provider communication (Groene, Bolíbar, & Brotons, 2012). Besides this, both cultural and language barriers contribute substantially in complicating the encounters experienced with clinicians since a slight difference causes a lot of misunderstanding and even the corruption of an individual's beliefs and morals. Naturally, some people neither understand the common and official languages used in a hospital setting. As a result, physicians are subjected to difficult times trying to explain a medical issue to the patient through education him or her to use the ask-me-3 project. However, good organization in the health care facility plays a crucial role in facilitating the implementation of the Ask-me-3 intervention. This is because the more organized the hospital setting is, the more the patients will take seriously the instructions of the three questions included in the program’s package. The use of a common language within an area where this intervention is tested increases the efficacy of its implementation because people will understand issues more easily as opposed to where a language barrier exists. Finally, good conduct on the side of the patient as well as the clinician fosters the implementation of this intervention.

Impact of Health Education


In a nutshell, the discussion of the Ask-me-3 program as a health promotion activity that aims to focus on the improvement of health literacy among patients is crucial for the general conduct of the health care systems in the world, particularly in Australia. Health literacy means the individuals’ ability to obtain, process, and understand basic health services and information required to come up with appropriate decisions. Primarily, individual’s level of education is a factor that influences health literacy since less education inhibits the understanding of complicated instructions. Both demographic culture and age influence a person’s level of literacy in a similar way as the level of education. The improvement of health literacy results in the proper utilization of preventative resources and that everything will appear to be patient-centered. Evidently, health education can empower patients to improve their knowledge and engagement to the health system by presenting them with the ability to possess and exploit their sense of individual control over their health as well as lives. Health education has the impact of influencing patients to modify their behavior through the process of making them change their behavior on chronic conditions. One of the key strengths of health education is that it is simple to accept the troubles faced by any individual. More importantly, the Ask-me-3 program helps in enhancing the clarity of communication between the patients and physicians since the three questions are easier to understand and manage conditions of the body while at home. The barriers to the implementation of this intervention are low health literacy as well as cultural and language differences. However, good organization of the health care setting acts as an enabler of the program.


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