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Article

Theresa S. Arndt

The purpose of this paper is to introduce the articles in the special theme issue.

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to introduce the articles in the special theme issue.

Design/methodology/approach

This paper provides some background and context on health literacy.

Findings

Health literacy is a critical constellation of skills. Librarians’ abilities and expertise are well-suited to contributing to the improvement of health literacy for various populations in various settings. Librarians are actively engaging in a wide variety of health literacy initiatives in collaboration with other professionals and organizations.

Practical implications

Specific examples of how librarians are contributing to health literacy are described.

Social implications

Lack of health literacy is associated with poor health outcomes and increased health costs. Multiple organizations, think tanks and government agencies have called for addressing disparities in health literacy.

Originality/value

This paper provides an overview and introduction to the special issue on health literacy.

Details

Reference Services Review, vol. 44 no. 2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0090-7324

Keywords

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Article

Anita Mehay, Rosie Meek and Jane Ogden

Prisons offer a public health opportunity to access a group with multiple and complex needs and return them to the community with improved health. However, prisons are not…

Abstract

Purpose

Prisons offer a public health opportunity to access a group with multiple and complex needs and return them to the community with improved health. However, prisons are not conducive to optimal health and there are few frameworks to guide efforts. This study aims to generate insights into health literacy across a young adult prison population, specifically examining the level of limitations, barriers and characteristics associated with these limitations.

Design/methodology/approach

The study took place in a single prison in England for young adult men aged 18–21 years old. A mixed-methods design was adopted with 104 young men completing a quantitative survey and qualitative semi-structured interviews with 37 young men.

Findings

72% (n = 75) of young men scored as limited in their health literacy. Barriers included structural restrictions, limited access to formal support and social and natural disruptions. No demographic characteristics or smoking intentions/behaviours predicted limited health literacy, but characteristics of the prison were predictive. Physical problems (sleep, nausea, tiredness and headaches), mental health and well-being (anxiety, depression and affect) and somatisation problems were also predictive of limitations.

Practical implications

Prison healthcare services and commissioners should undertake regular health literacy needs assessments to support developments in reducing barriers to healthcare and increasing health improvement efforts. Action also requires greater political will and investment to consider broader action on the wider determinants of (prison) health.

Originality/value

The study provides a framework to understand and guide prison health efforts and highlights attention needed at the level of governments, prison leaders and their health systems.

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Article

Eva-Maria Berens, Kristin Ganahl, Dominique Vogt and Doris Schaeffer

Health literacy (HL) is considered an important prerequisite for informed, self-determined health decisions. HL research among older migrants is scarce, but especially…

Abstract

Purpose

Health literacy (HL) is considered an important prerequisite for informed, self-determined health decisions. HL research among older migrants is scarce, but especially important, as older people face great challenges regarding management of chronic illnesses and, therefore, are in need of adequate healthcare. Therefore, this paper aims to report HL in the domain of healthcare (HL-HC) among older migrants in Germany stratified by different countries of origin.

Design/methodology/approach

Data were collected by a quota sample in North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany. Computer-assisted personal face-to-face interviews were conducted in German, Russian and Turkish. For this analysis, a subsample of 192 first-generation migrants aged 65–80 years from Turkey, Poland, Greece or Italy was drawn from the main sample (n = 1,000). HL-HC was assessed using a sub-index of health literacy survey European questionnaire 47. Data analyses comprised descriptive statistics, bivariate and multivariate analyses.

Findings

Overall, 68.6% of the older migrants have limited HL-HC, and mean HL-HC scores vary significantly among different countries of origin. There is great variation in reported difficulties for the single HL-HC tasks by migrant groups. In multiple regressions, country of origin, not German as main language, low functional HL and low social status are significantly associated with lower HL-HC.

Practical implications

Interventions should be aimed at smaller target groups and should consider language issues and possible differences related to countries of origin into account. Both individual skills and system-related aspects need to be addressed.

Originality/value

This paper presents first data on HL-HC among older migrants in Germany and its determinants, stratified by different countries of origin.

Details

International Journal of Migration, Health and Social Care, vol. 17 no. 1
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1747-9894

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Book part

Heather Brodie Perry

Research finds that various demographic factors, such as race, gender, education, and income, are associated with disparate health outcomes. Health literacy is an asset…

Abstract

Research finds that various demographic factors, such as race, gender, education, and income, are associated with disparate health outcomes. Health literacy is an asset that can help consumers exert greater control over their health. The rapidly evolving information landscape can be overwhelming for consumers seeking health information. Users may not be aware of the influence of power, prestige, and money in funding, designing, creating, and disseminating information to consumers. Information professionals have an important role to play in providing health information to their users. Proponents of critical information literacy argue that librarianship must evolve beyond supporting the status quo and assist users in understanding the political and commercial forces that can shape the options available to users. Health-literate individuals can also be empowered to challenge the social determinants of health and support policies that would lead to more significant health equity for the whole of society.

This study sought to explore the needs and challenges of public libraries in meeting their users’ health information needs. The study also investigated participants’ perceptions regarding a public library workshop for consumers on the critical evaluation of health information. The study found that while attendance was low, the attendees rated the workshop positively.

Details

Roles and Responsibilities of Libraries in Increasing Consumer Health Literacy and Reducing Health Disparities
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-1-83909-341-8

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Book part

Kelsey Leonard Grabeel

The University of Tennessee Medical Center in Knoxville (UTMC) Preston Medical Library (PML) and Health Information Center (HIC) has provided a novel contribution to…

Abstract

The University of Tennessee Medical Center in Knoxville (UTMC) Preston Medical Library (PML) and Health Information Center (HIC) has provided a novel contribution to increasing consumer health literacy and reducing health disparities in a unique variety of ways. UTMC librarians have used qualitative, quantitative, and practice-based methodology and research to demonstrate what a regional medical library working with internal and community partners can accomplish. At UTMC, there has been a focus on the value of health literacy for the patient, the clinician, and the health care system itself. In 1993, the UTMC PML began a consumer and patient health information service, which was the foundation for increasing consumer health literacy. In 2014, UTMC took a leading role in advancing consumer health literacy through the opening of the HIC, a patient- and family-focused library inside of UTMC. This chapter will focus on the PML’s history as a reliable resource in providing patients, family members, and the community with accurate and trustworthy health information, as well as the librarians’ role related to health literacy and health disparities through various initiatives and projects. Additionally, this chapter will highlight specific suggestions for libraries interested in starting similar initiatives, such as obtaining support from leadership, opportunities for funding, and how to address roadblocks.

Details

Roles and Responsibilities of Libraries in Increasing Consumer Health Literacy and Reducing Health Disparities
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-1-83909-341-8

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Book part

Karen Seccombe, Richard S. Lockwood and Stephen Reder

The striking number of persons with low levels of literacy in the United States is a major public-health concern. This study examines the relationship between literacy

Abstract

The striking number of persons with low levels of literacy in the United States is a major public-health concern. This study examines the relationship between literacy levels and both (1) access to health care and (2) use of specific health care services among adults. The data are collected from in-person interviews with a representative sample of adults aged 18–44 in Portland, Oregon, who are proficient English speakers, and have not completed high school nor have a GED. Adults with lower levels of literacy are less likely to have a usual provider, to have health insurance, and they have trouble understanding written medical directions, more difficulty getting needed care, and poorer health. They also use physician services, overnight hospital stays, and emergency rooms more frequently, controlling for education, access, health, and sociodemographic characteristics. Literacy is conceptually distinct from education and independently affects the way in which adults seek health care.

Details

Health Care Services, Racial and Ethnic Minorities and Underserved Populations: Patient and Provider Perspectives
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-0-76231-249-8

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Article

Juliana Reis Bernardes, Cecília Lima de Queirós Mattoso, Marco Aurelio Carino Bouzada and Claudia Affonso Silva Araujo

This study aims at verifying the impact of literacy on over-the-counter (OTC) drug consumer vulnerability as evaluated by health literacy and label comprehension.

Abstract

Purpose

This study aims at verifying the impact of literacy on over-the-counter (OTC) drug consumer vulnerability as evaluated by health literacy and label comprehension.

Design/methodology/approach

The item response theory (IRT) was used to estimate the health literacy of two groups and the two-way analysis of variance tests was used to test the hypotheses for the existence of mean differences between the two populations. The convenience sample involved 188 OTC consumers: 94 (50%) poorly literate and 94 (50%) university students/graduates.

Findings

University consumers/graduates have a level of health literacy and label comprehension that is superior to those presented by poor literate consumers. Also, age does not influence the level of health literacy by OTC drug users but has a significant impact on the understanding of OTC drug labels. Finally, the level of schooling and the “age group,” simultaneously, does not impact the understanding of OTC drug labels or health literacy.

Research limitations/implications

This study has added in the field of knowledge by investigating the behavior of poor literate consumers in Brazil, a developing country. The results may be relevant to Marketing professionals, especially those in the pharmaceutical industry, and to police makers, as they help identify the main problems faced by poorly literate consumers.

Practical implications

It is necessary to raise awareness of the dangers of self-medication and wrong use of medications, mainly focused on people with low literacy. As a suggestion, a simple glossary presented along with the label could provide explanations of scientific terms, thus increasing health literacy and reducing the vulnerability of the consumers.

Social implications

This study showed that when using common words such as gastritis to define a health problem, there is a higher degree of correctness. These results suggest the adoption of a more straightforward language and more precise explanations. By doing that, the pharmaceutical industry and policymakers will improve their social impact by increasing consumer power and taking care of the health of the most vulnerable population: the illiterate people.

Originality/value

This study contributes to the international literature, as it enhances and clarifies the knowledge about the customers’ power and vulnerability in developing countries. It fills a gap by evaluating label comprehension and heath literacy at the same time, giving an academic contribution for pharmaceutical consumers’ studies.

Details

International Journal of Pharmaceutical and Healthcare Marketing, vol. ahead-of-print no. ahead-of-print
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1750-6123

Keywords

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Book part

Laurie T. Martin, Teague Ruder, José J. Escarce, Bonnie Ghosh-Dastidar, Daniel Sherman, Marc N. Elliott, Chloe E. Bird, Allen Fremont, Charles Gasper, Arthur Culbert and Nicole Lurie

Low health literacy is a hidden epidemic. Identifying individuals with low health literacy is a formidable barrier to eliminating disparities and improving health care…

Abstract

Purpose

Low health literacy is a hidden epidemic. Identifying individuals with low health literacy is a formidable barrier to eliminating disparities and improving health care quality and health outcomes. However, screening individual patients for low health literacy can be prohibitively expensive, time consuming, and inefficient. Focusing on communities, rather than individuals, provides opportunities for action. Identifying geographic areas with large numbers of individuals with low health literacy can enable stakeholders to focus interventions in areas of greatest need. Creating such a measure also sheds light on health literacy as a community or neighborhood-level resource that contributes to health disparities and can inform health interventions.

Methodology

We applied regression coefficients from a predictive model of health literacy to US Census data to estimate health literacy scores for census geographic areas in Missouri. We then created maps displaying the variability in health literacy levels. Finally, we compared areas identified by the predictive model to those identified on the basis of educational attainment alone.

Findings

Areas identified by the predictive model as having the lowest health literacy were substantially different from those identified using educational attainment alone, suggesting that a multivariate approach using a limited set of widely available predictors is considerably more accurate.

Practical implications

This study demonstrates a cost-effective and feasible method for estimating and mapping community-level health literacy. Predicting and mapping areas of low health literacy is relatively straightforward and inexpensive and makes complex data readily accessible to many stakeholders. Such maps can also identify and prioritize geographic areas for intervention by health care and public health providers. Moreover, this focus on community-level health literacy may help foster stakeholder collaboration, leading to efficient resource use that is targeted effectively and resulting in a positive return on investment for stakeholders.

Details

Education, Social Factors, and Health Beliefs in Health and Health Care Services
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-1-78560-367-9

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Book part

Anne M. Dannerbeck Janku, Jenny Bossaller, Denice Adkins and Rachel Thudium

Drug Treatment Courts (DTCs) offer a form of alternative sentencing for people who have been convicted of a crime related to drug or alcohol abuse. The work of…

Abstract

Drug Treatment Courts (DTCs) offer a form of alternative sentencing for people who have been convicted of a crime related to drug or alcohol abuse. The work of rehabilitation in DTCs is client-centered, meaning that it takes into account all of the client’s needs that affect their life in regards to completion of the program and rehabilitation. DTCs employ teams of people made up of judges, lawyers, educators, clinicians, and community supervisors. There are specific ways that librarians might become involved with DTCs regarding both literacy and, more specifically, health literacy. Existing programs could be adapted to solve common health literacy problems of participants, and librarians could also forge relationships with DTCs. Training for librarians should include education about the health and literacy problems faced by this population so they can successfully connect DTC participants with people and information that will contribute to their success completing the program and building healthier lives. This chapter looks to established best practices within DTCs and to some current related programs within public libraries to find grounds for expanding services to this population.

Details

Roles and Responsibilities of Libraries in Increasing Consumer Health Literacy and Reducing Health Disparities
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-1-83909-341-8

Keywords

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Book part

Catherine Arnott Smith, Alla Keselman, Amanda J. Wilson and M. Nichelle Midón

Consumer health literacy is a necessary skill in all facets of library work, from reference desk to programming to website development. In this chapter, the authors…

Abstract

Consumer health literacy is a necessary skill in all facets of library work, from reference desk to programming to website development. In this chapter, the authors present key terms in the domain of health literacy; challenges and controversies in research and public library practice; and findings from a recent study of public library workers meeting consumer health information needs. Finally, the authors present examples of National Library of Medicine (NLM) initiatives for public libraries and public librarians focusing on bridging health literacy gaps. Socially disadvantaged groups who are the most affected by health disparities tend to be those who are lower-income, have less education, and are not White. The combined effects of environment and socioeconomic status mean that these communities have particular, highly local challenges in addressing their health issues, as individuals and as a population. Health literacy can serve as the enabling factor in obtaining quality health information, navigating healthcare, and seeking better health. To support the public, NLM and its National Network of Libraries of Medicine have placed a strategic emphasis on public libraries in order to develop long-term partnerships. The goals of these partnerships are to support staff development and programming, and to promote resource-sharing about programs and activities focusing on health information. Public libraries are everywhere and open to all. This makes them the ideal community agency to reach out to the public and implement national information initiatives.

Details

Roles and Responsibilities of Libraries in Increasing Consumer Health Literacy and Reducing Health Disparities
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-1-83909-341-8

Keywords

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