Category Archives: Language and health illiteracy barriers
Andrea Wallace, PhD, RN, is an assistant professor at the University of Iowa College of Nursing and a Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Nurse Faculty Scholar.
Patients live in communities that offer support and include influences that are outside the walls of clinical settings. While this is not a new revelation, I have often had to remind myself and the students I teach that, as health care providers, we witness only a very small part of patients’ lives, generally at a time when they are most removed from their experience of daily living.
"I cringe to think of how many of my adult patients I’ve asked to adopt a complex medication schedule for their diabetes, all the while suspecting they may have limited literacy skills"
We must remain continually aware of patients’ personal and financial resources when planning care. But it was not until recently that I became incredibly taken with the idea that, for many patients living with chronic illness, it’s those who help patients care for themselves—the daughter picking up medications, the neighbor driving to appointments, the spouse doing shopping – who may make the difference between successfully and unsuccessfully coping with what can be incredibly complex self-management regimens.