literacy is related to patient safety and it is an important determinant of
overall health. It is a growing concern in the field of public health and
health promotion. According to the Canadian Public Health association (2014),
“health literacy is defined as the ability to access, comprehend, evaluate, and
communicate information as a way to promote, maintain and improve health in a
variety of settings across the life-course”. According to the Public Health
Agency of Canada, 60% of adults and 88% of seniors are not health literate.
That means that they are not able to use their health system effectively. This paper discusses three
benefits, to increasing health literacy in the Canadian population.
Firstly, Reduction in
chronic and other preventable diseases.
As per Mattew and Bini, with
increased health literacy in Canada would be a decline people being diagnosed
with chronic illness like diabetes and hypertension. Teaching people about how
to prevent these diseases with proper diet and exercise and the side effects of
these diseases would help to reduce the rate of these diseases in Canada. Improved
knowledge in health services in community enable each person highly equipped with
all available preventive measures like mammograms, pap smears, vaccinations and
flu shots. Having adequate knowledge in preventive measures of diseases,
prevent doctors’ visits, hospital admissions and utilization of emergency
Secondly, save on health care costs
Brianna and Lim express their
concern about how we can reduce the increasing health expenses through high
literacy? According to the reports the last few years it shows Canada’s health
expenditure has increased drastically per person. People with limited healthy practices
are more likely to be hospitalized and use emergency services for minor
illness. It would be more cost effective to have
these practices in place to lessen the burden to the health care system. So,
empowering the patient health literacy helps them to increase their self confidence,
decision making skills and could reduce the health care expenses.
compliance and thereby better health outcome.
Our overall group supported on
this point. Ability to understand, evaluate and communicate health related
information is critical for maintaining a healthy lifestyle, promoting autonomy
in decision making and managing our own and our family’s health care needs.
Majid, explained about person has literacy has better understanding on their
health care goals and they will try to maintain optimum health in order, they
can rise up healthy families.
Susan added a point that, nurses
as front line staffs in health care delivery, to facilitate the process of
health promotion, have the primary role in providing health information in the
form of health teaching. To be
considered literate when it comes to health, people able to read health
information, communicate their needs to health professionals and understand
health instructions. It is important for health professionals to be aware of
their patients’ level of health literacy. Personally I got a chance to teach
patients’ how to take their insulin and foot care. Teach them or family how the
procedure step by step by pictures, role play and return demonstration. So they
can become more independent on their health strategies.
To conclude, improved health
literacy can raise better health outcome, which would results in real savings
for our health system, and our national productivity.