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I understand, therefore I am (empowered)

People with limited health literacy and difficulties with reading or writing feel shame, which leads to disempowerment and worse health outcomes.
© IMPACCT consortium

Empowerment is important in relation to health literacy as seen in its inclusion in definitions (e.g. WHO) and from the patients perspective.

Watch what Mrs Tilsey has to say in the first 23 seconds of the following video (feel free to watch it entirely, of course):

This is an additional video, hosted on YouTube.

She knew that she didn’t understand her medication but “didn’t have the nerve to ask”. She was not empowered in her communication with the doctor.

Those with limited health literacy who also have difficulties reading and writing often lack confidence, feel ashamed, and as a result are disempowered. This negatively impacts on their health. This sub-group of the population can be a focus for interventions aimed at empowering people.

Health professional communication skills including ways of asking questions and enabling patients to ask questions are important in this, as is facilitating and checking understanding.

Although we will further explore these ideas in Week 3, we can now start thinking about ways you could stop Mrs. Tilsey from feeling ashamed of herself. How would you deal with this? Leave a comment with your ideas and read the ones from your fellow learners.

© IMPACCT consortium
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Working with Patients with Limited Health Literacy

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