Talking With Your Older Patient: A Clinician's Handbook
This is a newly developed resource intended for health care professionals who deal directly with older patients. Its aim is to introduce or reinforce communication skills essential in caring for older patients and their families.
Harvard health literacy
This web site is organized under the headings: health literacy overview, health literacy literature, research and policy, innovative materials, how to create and assess print materials, health literacy curricula, and has many key links to other important websites.
Doak CC, Doak LG, Root JH. Teaching Patients with Low Literacy Skills, Second Edition (1996)
This classic text in health literacy can be downloaded at this site. The text is a rich source of information about the science and practice of assessing health literacy, as well as interventions to improve health literacy. It describes the Suitability Assessment of Materials (SAM) guide, which provides criteria on how to assess printed health information for its content, reading level, graphics, physical layout, and motivational and cultural appropriateness. The tool yields a percentage indicating whether the material is superior, adequate, or not suitable and can identify areas for improvement. Aspects of the tool have also been used to assess suitability of video and audio health information.
American Medical Association Foundation. Health literacy: A Manual for Clinicians
Chicago, IL: American Medical Association Foundation, 2003. (Includes a video, both are available at Snell Library at Northeastern University). The video and booklet provide excellent general guidelines and examples about tailoring clinical practice to be more sensitive to health illiteracy.
Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality. Literacy and Health Outcome
This PDF file is a systematic review of the relationship between literacy and health outcomes and interventions to improve the health of people with low literacy.
Murphy P, Davis T, Jackson R, Decker N, Long S. (1993) Effects of literacy on health care of the aged: implications for health professionals. Educational Gerontology, 19:311-316.
National Literacy and Health Program. Working with low-literacy seniors: practical strategies for health providers.
Ontario, Canada: Canadian Public Health Association.
National Institute of Aging. Making your printed health materials senior friendly
This review provides helpful tips on how to tailor printed health information so it can be best used by older adults.
Key Concepts for selecting Brochures for Older Adults
This column by Helen Osbourne on Health Literacy in the Boston Globe’s On Call presents key concepts in selecting brochures for older adults. Issues considered include organization and content of brochure, learning challenges of older adults, and specific considerations in selecting text that relate to the reader’s familiarity, comfort level, and lifestyle.
Obstacles to learning
This On Call column by Helen Osborne presents the many obstacles older adults face in learning information and provides a case example of a woman experiencing difficulties in learning health information. Key tips are presented in helping older adults better understand health information.
Improving Health Literacy for Adults
The CDC has released an expert panel report "Improving Health Literacy for Older Adults" as an online training for public health professionals. The course provides CE credits and is available at no charge.