• University of Groningen logo
  • University Medical Center Groningen
  • NUI Galway

Working with Patients with Limited Health Literacy

Discover how including health literacy in your professional practice can be used to reduce health inequalities.

3,347 enrolled on this course

  • Duration

    3 weeks
  • Weekly study

    3 hours

Discover how health literacy can boost health outcomes

Studies suggest that if health professionals include elements of health literacy in their day-to-day-practice, the benefits to health promotion, prevention, treatment and care are significant.

On this course, you’ll be introduced to the concept of health literacy. You’ll consider the consequences of limited health literacy, why it happens, and where it happens as you examine Europe-wide patterns.

You’ll also identify ways in which health professionals can help those with limited health literacy, and learn strategies for addressing unmet health literacy needs.

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Skip to 0 minutes and 8 seconds Many health care professionals see patients who do not follow their instructions, do not take their medication the way they should, or just don’t show up for their appointments. This can lead to feelings of frustration, worry, and powerlessness. You would really like to help these patients. But you just don’t know how to deal with them. But how do you think your patient is feeling? Many patients are insecure about themselves. They may not understand their doctors, feel ashamed, are unable to ask the right questions, or experience difficulties finding their way through the health system. Many people have difficulty accessing, understanding, appraising, and communicating information in relation to health and disease. This is what we call having limited health literacy.

Skip to 1 minute and 1 second 47% of the European population has limited health literacy, which is related to medication errors, low adherence, and higher healthcare costs. Being able to support and empower these patients is essential for providing high quality care. In this three-week course, Working with Patients with Limited Health Literacy, you will gain insight into what limited health literacy is, and what the consequences are for a patient’s health. Through familiar cases, you will find out how to recognise this in your patients, and you will learn about practical strategies and techniques you can use when working with patients with limited health literacy.

Skip to 1 minute and 46 seconds At the end of the course, you have the knowledge and skills to work with patients with limited health literacy, which can contribute to better health outcomes. And you will feel more empowered when talking to your patients. So if you want to learn how to work with limited health literate patients in an effective way, join us.

What topics will you cover?

  • Concepts and components of health literacy
  • Consequences of limited health literacy
  • Recognising patients with limited health literacy
  • Mitigating health literacy problems
  • Adapting to patients with limited health literacy

When would you like to start?

Start straight away and join a global classroom of learners. If the course hasn’t started yet you’ll see the future date listed below.

  • Available now

Learning on this course

On every step of the course you can meet other learners, share your ideas and join in with active discussions in the comments.

What will you achieve?

By the end of the course, you‘ll be able to...

  • Describe what health literacy is
  • Identify the health consequences of limited health literacy
  • Identify ways in which the Healthcare Professional can contribute to mitigating the effects of limited health literacy
  • Demonstrate how to address peoples’ unmet health literacy needs

Who is the course for?

This course is designed for current and future healthcare professionals working in the public or private sector. The course is relevant for a wide range of professionals who come into contact with patients on a regular basis, including health literacy professionals, doctors, and nurses, as well as speech and language therapists, physiotherapists, occupational therapists, dieticians and podiatrists.

Who will you learn with?

I am an Associate Professor in health literacy and prevention. With my work, I hope to contribute to better heath and well-being of people with limited health literacy.

Postdoc researcher at the University Medical Center Groningen specialized in person-centered care and communication.

Research Assistant/Project Manager (Health Sciences, University Medical Centre Groningen, University of Groningen); Health Literacy and Youth Mental Health Research

General Practitioner, now a PhD Student at the UMCG with an interest in Public Health research, especially in the role health literacy has on people's health.

I am a Lecturer in Health Promotion in the Discipline of Health Promotion, at the National University of Ireland Galway where I teach and undertake research in health communication and health literacy

Who developed the course?

University of Groningen

The University of Groningen is a research university with a global outlook, deeply rooted in Groningen, in the north of the Netherlands.

University Medical Center Groningen (UMCG)

UMCG is building the future of health through its focus on complex patient care, research, education and training.

NUI Galway

The National University of Ireland Galway situated in the West of Ireland is internationally recognised as a research-led university with a commitment to top quality teaching and learning.

Endorsers and supporters

funded by


supported by

The Faculty of Medicine at Pavol Jozef Šafárik University logo

supported by

Jacobs University logo

supported by

Regione Marche Logo

supported by

Agenzia Regionale Sanitaria

Learning on FutureLearn

Your learning, your rules

  • Courses are split into weeks, activities, and steps to help you keep track of your learning
  • Learn through a mix of bite-sized videos, long- and short-form articles, audio, and practical activities
  • Stay motivated by using the Progress page to keep track of your step completion and assessment scores

Join a global classroom

  • Experience the power of social learning, and get inspired by an international network of learners
  • Share ideas with your peers and course educators on every step of the course
  • Join the conversation by reading, @ing, liking, bookmarking, and replying to comments from others

Map your progress

  • As you work through the course, use notifications and the Progress page to guide your learning
  • Whenever you’re ready, mark each step as complete, you’re in control
  • Complete 90% of course steps and all of the assessments to earn your certificate

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