A Closer Look at Health Literacy Disparities in Wound Care Education

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By Hannah Fell, Digital Managing Editor

Education is such an important aspect of health care, and patients need to be able to understand instructions that correspond to his or her treatment plan. With this information in mind, how should clinicians educate their patients about wound care in a way that is appropriate to their reading level?

Kylie McMath, MSN, RN, CWOCN addresses this topic in her poster, “Health Literacy Disparities in Wound Care Patient Education” at the Symposium on Advanced Wound Care (SAWC) Fall.

According to the author, there are very few resources available online to patients to educate them about wound care. To gather data for this poster, the researcher searched for relevant keywords (ie, “wound care education”) on a common Internet search engine. Then, health literacy levels of the top articles were examined.

The poster results share that a simple search for “wound care education” came back with pages related to wound certification courses or information directly for practitioners. When the author specifically searched for “diabetic wound care education,” results from pages such as Mayo Clinic and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) appeared, for instance. However, these pages were geared toward a target audience who could read at an eighth grade reading level. This is problematic, as the author cites that the American Medical Association (AMA) and National Institutes of Health (NIH) recommend that patient education materials be written at no more than a sixth grade reading level.

The author argues that with the field of wound care continuing to expand, there needs to be a focus on the best ways to educate the patient so that they can receive the best possible outcome. Awareness of health literacy disparities, along with practical steps for clinicians, are paramount in addressing this concern. The authors propose that appropriately created wound care patient education content should be available online and at the most effective reading level. One suggestion was to advise and direct patients as to specific resources, along with provider assessment of patient understanding on these educational points.

Recommended Citation

McMath K. Health Literacy Disparities in Wound Care Patient Education. Poster presented at Symposium on Advanced Wound Care Fall; Las Vegas, NV: October 13-16, 2022.

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