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J Allied Health. 2012 Summer;41(2):e33-7.

Evaluating allied health inpatient rehabilitation educational materials in terms of health literacy.

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Cardinal Hill Rehabilitation Hospital, Lexington, KY 40504, USA.


The purpose of this project was to assess and adapt inpatient rehabilitation educational materials in terms of reading level. Low health literacy has been shown to negatively impact health. Little health literacy research has been focused on rehabilitation settings. Written patient education materials were collected then analyzed for reading level. Focus groups were held with allied health practitioners to develop a plan to adapt them. A final focus group of former inpatient rehabilitation users was conducted to explore the end users perceptions of the original and revised materials. 90 pieces of patient education material were assessed. The average reading level of the original materials was 16th grade. A subset of 20 documents was chosen for revision. The average reading level was lowered to 5th grade with a range from 2nd to 8th. Clear communication for patient educational materials is a crucial first step to providing the best client-centered rehabilitation care. Vocabulary words, text formatting and "need to know" versus "nice to know" information were the most common problems in the original documents.

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