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Health Literacy Essay

Background of the Study Poor health literacy is a stronger predictor of a person’s health than age, income, employment status, education level, and race. There is a high correlation between the ability to read and health literacy, but it is important to recognize that patients who are fully literate may be health illiterate (American Medical Association). Nowadays, knowledge is vital for maintaining and achieving optimum health. The concept of health literacy has come to the forefront in healthcare.

Health literacy is defined as: “The degree to which individuals have the capacity to obtain, process, and understand basic health information and services needed to make appropriate health decisions” (Ratzen &Park, 2000). Half of our population has limited literacy skills, which affects health literacy. To determine the extent of this impact, the Institute of Medicine formed a committee to examine health literacy. As nurses we need to use this knowledge about health literacy to assist our patients in understanding their health and interacting with the healthcare system. Health literacy has three components (Baker DW (1999)).

: First, literacy: a lack of capacity to read, write, communicate, or solve problems which affects the ability of an individual to gain necessary knowledge of health and health systems; Second, comprehension: a lack of capacity to understand how health and health care services are structured and operate to meet health and health care needs and how they can be accessed; and third, participation: a lack of capacity to follow a course of treatment or self-management that will improve health and wellbeing, or change behaviour to prevent disease processes starting or progressing.

These components may not be anything new, but they do help to clarify what the purpose of any interventions to promote health literacy and prevent the consequence of its absence for individuals within a wider population, as well as for the public health and health care professionals who work with them. It may be old fashioned, but it is almost possible to recognize a primary, secondary and tertiary preventative approach could be applied to such components. The researchers were puzzled whether the patient who is illiterate has been taking the correct patient education from the nurses.

The researchers decided to have such study to know the difference of the recovery and health process between the literate and illiterate patients among the Medical and Surgical Ward at Davao Medical Center. According to Parker(2003), health and health care are increasingly characterized by technological sophistication, and choice by “informed” consumers is of growing importance in the market. Patients who are better informed about their options and who understand the evidence behind certain approaches to care may have better health outcomes.

Those without adequate understanding-without adequate health literacy-cannot function successfully in a market designed for active, informed consumers. They are the ones most likely to be left behind. Problems with health literacy are extremely common and costly; more than half of the individuals are experiencing problems to read and understand the information needed to function in the health care system. Being exposed to a public hospital setting, the researchers handle different patients with different levels of intellectual capacity.

In most instances, patients who are illiterate make the incorrect decisions regarding health care and sometimes, it affects their recovery or health status. It becomes a huge barrier to proper health care. The researchers are going to assess the lack of information and nursing interventions the hospital has for the illiterate. The main purpose of this study is to know how the hospital setting handles patient who are illiterate. As nurses of the future, we need to gather some information about the different ways of health teachings that should be appropriate to different types of people.

(1 and a half ang intro and last is the reason why you pick the study) Theoretical Framework “Nursing is the art of improving and providing culturally congruent care to people that is beneficial, will fit with, and will be useful o the client, family, or culture group healthy life ways. ” (Madeleine Leinenger). Madeleine Leinenger’s Transcultural Theory of Nursing forwards the principle that caring is the true essence of nursing. Caring is also the dominant, distinctive, and unifying feature of nursing.

Human caring, however, varies from one culture to another in terms of how it is expressed and the processes and patterns unique to the culture. Leininger’s theory of Cultural Care is a product of devoted consciousness of an ever changing world, wherein individual is at play with society and their environment. The core of the theory was derived from all her experiences in hospital, clinic and in the community setting. World War II became the nest wherein the theory developed; it was during this period that many immigrants and refugees from diverse cultures were moving to the United States and to other places worldwide.

With direct observations and interactions with clients of diverse cultures, with variety of health conditions, she became conscious that recovery from illnesses and or maintaining health and wellbeing was greatly affected by how health care was provided to them. The major event that led to the development of her theory happened in the early 1950’s where she worked as a clinical specialist caring for mildly disturbed children of diverse cultural backgrounds.

It’s a humanistic and scientific caring discipline and profession with the main focus of serving individuals, groups, communities, societies, and institutions by carefully considering cultural care dimensions such as: worldwide view of caring, language of caring, philosophical and religious factors, kinship and social factors, cultural values, beliefs, and life ways, political and legal factors, economic factors, educational factors, and technological factors. Conceptual Framework Based on Madeleine Leinenger’s Theory, the patient needs different way of healthcare provision, proportional to his culture to attend a high level of health.

The major conceptual elements of the origin and emergent theory are: human care, culture, culture care, culture care diversity, culture care universality, social and cultural structure dimensions, and world view. As and discussed in the theory, there are 9 factors to consider in administering health care and healthy teachings to the client. If these factors are considered, high level of health can be given to the patient. The independent variable is the health literacy- literacy, cooperation, and participation of the patient; and the dependent variable is the barriers in patient education.

The relationship between the independent and dependent variable is that the dependent variable relies on its independent variable and they work together to achieve its ultimate goal – which is to help render optimum care that the researchers can give to their patients. DEPENDENT VARIABLE Barrier to patient education: a. Compliance to Medication b. Lifestyle changes c. Follow-up care INDEPENDENT VARIABLE Health literacy: a. Intellectual Capacity b. Comprehension c. Participation a. Age b. Gender c. Educational attainment d. Religion Figure 1: CONCEPTUAL PARADIGM.

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