Health Literacy Subcommittee Minutes Health Literacy Subcommittee Minutes

Health Literacy Subcommittee

We are looking for interested people to continue with this work: 

Our Health Literacy Subcommittee met every second month from September through May.

We know that poor health impairs our ability to absorb and understand information. And we know that stress has the same effect: even the most literate among us have more difficulty communicating when we are under stress. Add unfamiliar medical jargon, and our ability to absorb and understand information plummets even further.

Our literacy skills are at their lowest, just when we need them most!

This is an even bigger problem for the 42% of adult Canadians already struggling with literacy issues. Because good health depends on our ability to understand and act on written information, the cycle is very difficult to break.

What can be done?

We have encouraged patients to be more proactive, with initiatives like our Ask Me 3 program.

We have encouraged all health care practitioners to use a "teach back" method when relaying information to patients: explain what you would like the patient to do, and then ask the patient to "explain it back" in case anything was missed.

And we have encouraged everyone, at all times, to communicate using plain language. Regardless of our educational background, we all find plain language easier to understand at all times--whether we are under stress or not.

 More needs to be done, and we are looking for other ways to help people throughout our communities. Do you have ideas, suggestions, or stories to share? Check out the link to Patient Voices Network (above) an organization helping to shape the delivery of health care in BC, or contact us.