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Evid Based Complement Alternat Med. 2016;2016:5672050. doi: 10.1155/2016/5672050. Epub 2016 Jun 26.

Complementary Medicine Health Literacy among a Population of Older Australians Living in Retirement Villages: A Mixed Methods Study.

Author information

1
National Institute of Complementary Medicine, Western Sydney University, Locked Bag 1797, Penrith, NSW 2751, Australia.
2
School of Nursing and Midwifery, Western Sydney University, Locked Bag 1797, Penrith, NSW 2751, Australia.

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

Older Australians are consumers of high levels of complementary medicines. The aim of this study was to examine health literacy in a population of older Australians related to their use of complementary medicine.

METHODS:

A two-phase sequential mixed method design incorporating quantitative and qualitative methods was used in this study. The first phase consisted of a cross-sectional survey using a validated health literacy questionnaire and follow-up interviews with 11 residents of retirement villages. Interviews explored low scoring domains on the health literacy questionnaire.

RESULTS:

Health literacy competencies scored higher for the domains of having sufficient information to manage their health; felt understood and supported by health care providers; actively managed their health; and having social support for health. Three health literacy domains scored low including appraisal of health information; ability to find good information; and navigating the health care system. The findings suggest that participants had different experiences navigating the health care system to access information and services relating to complementary medicines. Two themes of "trust" and "try and see" provide insight into how this group of older Australians appraised health information in relation to complementary medicines.

CONCLUSIONS:

With a focus on self-care there is a need for improved health literacy skills.

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