October proclaimed Health Literacy Month
By Jan Jarvis
Nine out of 10 Americans may lack the knowledge and skills needed to manage their health and prevent disease.
To focus attention on this issue, Fort Worth Mayor Betsy Price has proclaimed October as Health Literacy Month. SaferCare Texas and the DFW Hospital Council Health Literacy Collaborative are joining in the effort to help people learn to navigate the health care system. Health literacy is the degree to which individuals have the capacity to obtain, process and understand basic health information and services needed to make appropriate health decisions.
Patients and families often leave with only a partial understanding. Even the educational brochures given to patients often are plainly worded, said Jessica Maack Rangel, MS, RN, Nurse Executive of SaferCare Texas.
“This places people at risk for missing an important understanding of their care, such as when to alert their provider of a change in their condition,” she said. “By highlighting Health Literacy in October, healthcare providers can re-examine the words chosen, using plain language so that what is said, is understood.”
The proclamation, signed by Mayor Price, notes the need to improve the health literacy of Texans through education provided by trained instructors with an emphasis on learning how to talk to their doctors and follow medical advice.
“Through this proclamation from Mayor Betsy Price and Fort Worth City Council, UNTHSC is once again elevated as a leader in transforming healthcare through recognition that health literacy is integral to patient safety and wellbeing,” Rangel said.