Health Literacy and House of Care - what can I do?

Posted by Lindsey Murphy on 31-10-2016
Health Literacy and House of Care - what can I do?

Health literacy is about people having enough knowledge, understanding, skills and confidence to use health information, to be active partners in their care, and to navigate health and social care systems. 

(Scottish Government, 2014)

Promoting health literacy is an important activity for all staff working in health and social care. Health literacy links very closely to the principles and activities of Scotland’s House of Care programme to support health and social care to flourish by focussing on:


a) Building the Scottish capacity for person centred care through collaborative care and support planning conversations that include, and are informed by, the voices of people with lived experience


b) Capturing and sharing the stories of this and working in ways that can be understood by a wide audience


c) Amplifying and connecting the streams of good practice including ALISS, National Links Worker and People Powered Health & Wellbeing programmes.


We would therefore ask that all staff working in House of Care consider finding out more about health literacy and how they can promote it with the people they work with.

There are a range of resources available to support you in this, including:

  • The Health Literacy Place website – the go to place for health literacy information in Scotland
  • The Health Literacy Place Twitter account @healthlitplace
  • Health literacy training and awareness raising


Think about your own practice and how you could promote health literacy with those you work with. Some ideas could be:

  • Visiting the Health Literacy Place and finding out more about the tools and techniques you can use
  • Attending health literacy training
  • When speaking to people use ‘teach back’ to check that you have explained things properly… ‘I want to make sure that I’ve explained things clearly today, would you mind telling me what it is we have discussed and what we have agreed is going to happen?’
  • Promote good sources of information, for example, NHS 24 and NHS Inform
  • Identify opportunities to use visuals and images to support communication and promote recall of the things discussed
  • Always offer support with paperwork, you can’t tell by looking at someone if they might have problems with reading and writing.


You can visit the Tools and Techniques section of the website to find out more about the things you can do to improve and promote health literacy with others and access resources to support you in this.

 To find out more about health literacy and how you can get involved please email

Please follow us on Twitter @healthlitplace.


To find out more about Scotland’s House of Care visit the website here.  

Follow us on Twitter @HoCScot

Lindsey Murphy

Written by Lindsey Murphy

Senior Knowledge Manager - Health Literacy

NHS Education for Scotland