What Health Literacy Means to Me

Posted by Alan Davidson on 04-12-2018
What Health Literacy Means to Me

Our latest blog is from Jim who is 66 years old. He had secondary cancer in his 40s and was diagnosed with psoriatic arthritis in his 50s.  Jim has learned how to live with and manage his conditions. He tries to help himself in the lifestyle choices he makes but relies on accessing on line resources and being given timely, reliable and relevant information from health professionals.

Health Literacy to me means having access to safe, reliable and simple health information to help me understand any health symptoms I may have. It should guide me to the right course of action to take next.

If I see a clinician I need to understand their assessment, any treatment options and agree jointly what  needs to happen.

Where medication is required I should be told how long I should take it and given any special guidance on taking it. I should be made aware of any significant potential side effects and actions I should take if they occur. This should be made clear and consistent on the medication labelling from the pharmacy.

Where appropriate I should be given clear written information to support explanation of my diagnosis and the treatment or further investigations going forward. Advising me of any relevant support organisations that can help me understand and manage my condition better.
Any ongoing review should ensure that I am taking the medication and other actions as recommended.  Any issues I may have should be discussed in a supportive and encouraging environment.

Written by Alan Davidson

Policy Officer

Person Centred Team, Scottish Government