Health Literacy In Health Care
Health literacy is defined as an individual’s ability to use cognitive, social and navigational skills to obtain, process and understand health information and services in order to make appropriate and beneficial health decisions (Lambert & Keogh, 2014; WHO, 2015). The concept of health literacy is a major determinant of a population’s health, meaning it is an important concept to grasp from an early age. Therefore, strategies on how to improve health literacy of the population will be discussed, as well as the importance of health professionals and health literacy in general and the relationship that health literacy plays in primary health care.
Health literacy is a vital skill for achieving positive health outcomes and reducing health inequalities. A person’s level of health literacy depicts the amount of engagement they will have with health services and programs, as well as their level of prevention and self-management of chronic health conditions (Keleher & Hagger, 2007). In 2006, research showed that approximately 58% of adult Australians have low health literacy (ABS, 2008). This low level of health literacy puts many people from different backgrounds at risk of poor health decisions, particularly those of lower socioeconomic status, the elderly, migrants from non-English speaking countries and people with poor cognitive function.
These poor decisions include but are not limited to risky behaviours, less self-management and poor dietary choices, which result in…