Improving Health Literacy Is Part Of Helping Your Patients Become Wise Health Consumers
Pegasus Home Health Care is committed to practicing diversity, equity, and inclusivity. Our clients and the professionals who care for them come from all walks of life and backgrounds. We respect and honor the individuality of each person.
Pegasus skilled in-home caregivers in Palmdale and elsewhere assist their patients one-on-one. They provide the support and care clients require to meet their challenges. Career home health care nurses invest time and effort into helping their patients become wise health consumers.
Help Your Patients Achieve Health Literacy
A significant factor in making wise health decisions is the level of health literacy. Experts define health literacy as “the ability to understand health information.” The definition further includes the ability “to use that information to make good decisions about your health and medical care.”
Individuals need to be able to:
- Accurately complete forms and questionnaires.
- Care for themselves, including managing chronic diseases and taking medications as prescribed.
- Correctly describe their health history, current issues, and treatments and medications.
- Find the appropriate healthcare providers and services.
Current statistics reveal that approximately one-third of individuals are not health literate.
Wise Health Consumers Communicate Effectively
As an in-home caregiver, you will need to determine your patient’s level of knowledge and health literacy. You can help them improve by teaching them how to communicate effectively with physicians and other providers. They need to feel comfortable asking questions about their care.
Sometimes your patients don’t want to ask questions or reveal symptoms. They may be embarrassed or afraid. Because they see you regularly, they learn to trust you and will share information with you that they hide from others.
They learn from you that professionals aren’t judgmental about physical or mental issues. Reassure them that other providers, such as their physician, adhere to the same high standard. The primary concern of healthcare experts is to provide the best possible care, and secrets hinder that.
Your older patients may attribute their symptoms to aging. While that’s valid to a certain extent, encourage them to discuss their concerns with you. You may be aware of resources that help them.
You can also help your patients make a list of everything they take. Often, individuals are prescribed drugs by more than one physician or fill prescriptions at different pharmacies. They need to include all drugs, herbs, home remedies, supplements, and vitamins and minerals on their list.
That information is helpful to you in evaluating their health, and it’s also essential for other healthcare providers. Also, talk to your patients about their diet. When needed, your Pegasus team includes a dietitian that can help them meet their nutritional requirements.
Patients are often advised to shop around for health services to become wise health consumers. That isn’t always possible. A Pegasus medical social worker can assist your client if they need help.
Getting Regular Exams From A Healthcare Professional Is Crucial
What matters most is that individuals choose a primary care physician and get regular physical exams. Preventative care helps them stay healthy. Assist with lists of your patient’s symptoms, drugs, and other products consumed.
You may also have patients who are depressed. Emphasize that mental health issues are not shameful. Encourage them to seek professional help from a member of your Pegasus team or other experts.
Individuals must ask for clarification when they don’t understand a diagnosis or instructions. If a treatment plan is advised, they should ask:
- Is the treatment risky? If so, what are the risks? How serious are they?
- Are there alternative treatments? What are the consequences of declining treatment?
- What will the treatment cost?
Similar questions apply to prescribed drugs. In addition, patients must understand dosages and timing. Pharmacists can explain any interactions.
Health Decisions Are Very Personal
It’s common for people to want treatments or drugs that prolong life. However, elderly individuals may have different priorities. Some may prefer quality of life to longevity.
Making wise healthcare decisions can be difficult at best for these individuals. Family members usually also have a role in decisions, especially when their loved one is seriously ill. Patients may find it helpful to use aids such as this checklist for shared decision-making involving health in general.
Fair Health Consumer also provides numerous checklists regarding specific treatment options. These include topics such as cancer, chronic diseases, and insurance basics. They also offer resources for older adults and families wishing to learn about various medical conditions and recommended care.
Join Our Team of Home Health Care Professionals
Pegasus expert in-home caregivers in Palmdale and our other locations have the skills needed to assist a variety of clients. They help their patients live safely and independently in their home. Career home health care nurses strive to improve the health literacy of individuals so they can become wiser health consumers.
Pegasus is a licensed Home Care Organization and a Joint Commission Accredited Home Health Care organization. We’re proud to be an equal opportunity employer, and we provide training for our professionals. We’re hiring skilled caregivers who want to advance their career while improving the quality of life for others.