We all need the ability to find, understand and use information for health. Health professionals are in a key position to help.
Around one in six Australians might not be able to access, understand, evaluate and communicate health information in a way that helps them to maintain and improve their own health.
Resources for health professionals
There are some easy things you can do to improve health outcomes among patients with low health literacy. For example, using ‘teach back’ to confirm the patient understood you has been shown to improve diabetic control.
Other techniques such as ‘ask-me-3’, or motivational interviewing and goal setting will help your communication.
Some simple approaches can be effective, including:
- using plain language that’s free of medical jargon
- sitting face-to-face with the patient
- using simple diagrams or pictures to illustrate explanations
- using educational materials geared to individuals with low health literacy.
- repeating directions and recommendations, just to be sure they are being heard
- asking patients whether they understand their treatment plan, the purpose of any medications and the dosing of those medications.
Helpful resources for patients
Try and give patients trusted resources from peak bodies or the Department of Health and Human Services, or the Department of Health.
- Six videos from the Better Health Channel that help people understand the health system including services, treatment, care and education for everyone in Victoria.
- Refer a patient with Type II diabetes to a self-management course.
- Translation Services - Translating and Interpreting Service (TIS) National
- My Health Visit Today
- Living well @ every age
- Health information
- Finding a service
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South Eastern Melbourne PHN acknowledges the traditional custodians of the land our catchment covers, the Boon Wurrung and Wurundjeri people. We pay respect to them, their culture and their Elders past, present and future, and uphold their relationship to this land.
While the Australian Government Department of Health has contributed to the funding of this website, the information on this website does not necessarily reflect the views of the Australian Government and is not advice that is provided, or information that is endorsed, by the Australian Government. The Australian Government is not responsible in negligence or otherwise for any injury, loss or damage however arising from the use of or reliance on the information provided on this website.