Evaluation of Health Literacy Screening Questions for use in the Acute Care Setting

Faculty Mentor(s)

Dr. Paulette Chaponniere, Hope College

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Despite advances in medical treatment, patients continue to experience poor health outcomes due to limited health literacy. Nurses have an obligation to ensure patient understanding, but often lack the tools to accurately assess their patient’s level of health literacy. The purpose of this research project is to identify valid, reliable, and feasible health literacy screening questions for use in the acute care setting. It is based on the Health literacy Framework (Institute of Medicine, 2004) which proposes that health literacy acts as the mediator between individuals and health contexts. The prospective, descriptive study will evaluate the reliability of three health literacy assessment questions when compared to the Newest Vital Sign and the Short Test of Functional Health Literacy in Adults, which have both been deemed valid and reliable tools to assess health literacy. Data collection will involve the administration of all three assessment tools to each subject at one point in time. The study will recruit 300 selected adult, English speaking, in-patients at a level 1 hospital in West Michigan. A kappa statistic will be used in SPSS to determine if there is a relationship between the scoring of the health literacy assessment questions, NVS, and S-TOFHLA. Results and conclusions are pending for the project. A potential limitation of the study may be subject withdrawal before data collection is complete. Future implications for nursing practice include improved health assessment tools and identification of individual patient education needs in the acute care setting.

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