Tools and Techniques

Welcome to the tools and techniques pages of the website. There are a wide range of tools which can support your health literacy practice and this section of the website contains an overview of some of the main techniques and provides links to further resources and guidance. The national health literacy action plan and supporting materials advocates five key approaches to support health literacy with service users, you will find these in the Techniques page.

Techniques

This section of tools for practice page is dedicated to the five key approaches recommended by Making it Easy: a national health literacy action plan for Scotland.

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Communication strategies

An overview of strategies and guidance for communicating health care information.

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Encouraging patient questions

While professionals should be responsible for ensuring that all relevant information is provided and understood it is still important to support patients in asking questions to help them find out information that is important to them.

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Medicine management

Information related to medicines such as guidance on why and how they are taken and medicine information sheets can be confusing for people. The language used in explaining dosage and side effects may be difficult for people to interpret and can result in medications not having the intended outcome.

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Long term conditions

Those with long term conditions may require further support in terms of health literacy to assist them in understanding their condition and in self managing.

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Informed consent

Patients are often required to consent to various treatments and procedures, it is imperative that they are supported to understand exactly what they are being asked to consent to, the consequences and to make an informed decision.

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Teach back

Teach back is a method of checking that you have communicated information effectively and that the messages you have provided are being understood and taken away.

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Chunk and check

Chunk and check can be used alongside teach back and requires you to break down information into smaller chunks throughout consultations and check for understanding along the way rather than providing all information that is to be remembered at the end of the session.

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Use simple language

Within health a lot of jargon, health terminology and acronyms are used. This can be challenging for people to comprehend. We should use plain and simple language to explain things as a tool for promoting understanding.

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Use pictures

Some concepts can be difficult to explain, both for patients explaining what is wrong with them and for professionals explaining what they would like people to do. Graphics and pictures can sometimes help communication.

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Routinely offer help with paperwork

It is not possible to tell by looking at someone whether they might have problems with paperwork or understanding health information. It is therefore recommended that staff routinely offer help with paperwork and other tasks that are asked of people during interactions with healthcare.

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