The Importance Of Low Literacy

1021 Words 5 Pages
Literacy is defined in the National Literacy Act of 1991 as “an individual 's ability to read, write, and speak in English, and compute and solve problems at levels of proficiency necessary to function on the job and in society, to achieve one 's goals, and develop one 's knowledge and potential”(Irwin, 1991, p. 7). I think it is safe to say, when many think of a low literacy individual, it is automatically assumed the person is educationally disadvantaged, mental disabled, and/or non-English speaking. Any of these factors can prevent an individual from reading, speaking, writing, comprehending, and/or retaining the information provided to them. Yes, I agree that these three factors are major reasons individuals are considered to be low literacy. …show more content…
I feel it is necessary for a health care provider to take the time to get to know each patient and assess every patients’ level of literacy during the initial visit/time of admission. If the level of literacy is not assessed, the patient 's health could suffer as a result. After working with the geriatric population, I have learned that often geriatric patients will agree with a health care provider regardless if they understood the information provided to them. Working as a home health nurse I often have patients report they manage their own medications without any difficulty, often further into the assessment, while assessing the patient’s vision the patient reports I am legally blind and am unable to read. This instantly throws up a red flag to me indicating a further assessment needs to be completed to ensure the patient is able to properly read/identify medication labels and does not need assistance with medication administration. Another situation I am often faced with is patients are discharged home from the hospital and report they are unaware of follow-up appointments, medication regimen, and are unable to explain to me their discharge instructions received from the hospital. After working on an inpatient floor, I realize that education needed to be …show more content…
(2009). Assessing and Addressing Health Literacy. The Online Journal of Issues in Nursing.14(3). Retrieved from

Irwin, P. (1991, November 8). National Literacy Act of 1991: Major Provisions of P.L. Retrieved from

Minnesota Health Literacy Partnership. (2012, June 4). Teach-Back: What does your patient really understand? Retrieved from program guide_updated 060412.pdf

U.S, Department of Health and Human Services. (n.d.). Quick Guide to Health Literacy. Retrieved from

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