Long term conditions

Health information can be very technical and filled with jargon. People living with long term conditions may be required to deal with larger amounts of technical information about their condition and their care. In addition to understanding the information being provided, it is important that people are supported to develop the language and skills required to communicate effectively with a range of professionals, to challenge options and suggestions and to be active partners in any decisions being made.

Some initiatives have involved patients by including them in communications about their condition and their results, but this is not always a positive activity as some people can struggle to understand the meaning of results and communication between professionals that can leave them feeling more excluded.

People with long term conditions who have low health literacy may struggle to identify deterioration in their condition, and if they do notice a deterioration they may not know how to appropriately respond to it. This is in part due to those with low health literacy being less able to identify their healthcare needs and also being less able to navigate the complex healthcare system.

A number of papers explore the impact of low health literacy for those with conditions such as coronary heart disease and diabetes, these are available within the evidence section and the resources library. The resources below give some information on models relating to supporting health literacy and long term conditions.