You have just been diagnosed with a medical condition and your doctor provides you with detailed information about your condition, the cause and symptoms, as well as how to treat it. After leaving you realize that you didn’t quite understand everything that your doctor shared and you are confused about what to do next. This is a common occurrence that takes place between patients and healthcare professionals.
It has been well documented that many people face challenges when trying to comprehend the important health information being shared with them by their doctors, nurses and other healthcare professionals. Failure to understand complex medical information could affect a patient’s health.
To address this issue, the month of October has been designated Health Literacy Month. This global observation is intended to raise awareness about this issue and encourage individuals as well as organizations in the healthcare industry to promote the importance of creating ways to share health information in a way that is understandable to our patients.
This year’s Health Literacy Month theme is “Be a Health Literacy Hero.” Jamaica Hospital is participating in this campaign by helping our patients and community improve their healthcare literacy by offering the following tips:
- Ask questions – Then, make sure you get and understand the answers. If you don’t understand, ask the doctor or nurse for more information.
- Repeat information back to your doctor or nurse – After your doctor or nurse gives you instructions, repeat them back in your own words.
- Bring a pen and paper – Take the time to write instructions down so you can refer to them later.
- Have another adult with you – This might be especially true when you expect to receive important information.
- Ask for an interpreter – You have a right to an interpreter, at no cost to you. Tell your provider what language you prefer to communicate.
By following these tips, you can improve your health care literacy and improve your overall health.
All content of this newsletter is intended for general information purposes only and is not intended or implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Please consult a medical professional before adopting any of the suggestions on this page. You must never disregard professional medical advice or delay seeking medical treatment based upon any content of this newsletter. PROMPTLY CONSULT YOUR PHYSICIAN OR CALL 911 IF YOU BELIEVE YOU HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY.