Many of us lack the knowledge, understanding, skills and confidence to take an active role in our own wellbeing, despite a strong desire to do so.
Modern health and social care can place daunting hurdles in our way - the language and processes of health and care services can be hard to understand. These hurdles can undermine our confidence in accessing and participating in our healthcare and erode our ability to sustain our health. We may be confused by the signage at the hospital, struggle to make sense of information about our health conditions, or be unable to communicate effectively with our clinical and care staff. This can be even more challenging when faced with stressful health or life circumstances. All this undermines our ability to manage our own conditions safely and effectively, and this is a cause of health inequality.
Addressing the issue of health literacy is the key purpose of Making it Easy. This issue affects all of us, whether we have a health problem or not, and therefore it has been written with all of us in mind. We all have a role in working together to address health literacy, whether we work in health or social care, or part of the third sector, or as teachers, employers, community workers - or indeed as relatives, carers, friends and colleagues. Strong social connections nurture good health literacy.
However, Making it Easy limits its scope to the responsibilities of those working in health and social care.
Making it Easy
- Highlights the hidden problem of low health literacy and the impact that this has on our ability to access, understand, engage and participate in our health and social care.
- Explains that low health literacy leads to poor health outcomes and widens health inequality.
- Calls for all of us involved in health and social care to systematically address health literacy as a priority in our efforts to improve health and reduce health inequalities.
- Sets out an ambition for all of us in Scotland to have the confidence, knowledge, understanding and skills we need to live well, with any health condition we have.
- Lays out the actions the Scottish Government and partners are taking to help all of us in health and social care collaborate and help realise this ambition.
To explore the rationale, evidence and processes that led to the development of Making it Easy, please visit the Health Literacy Place at www.healthliteracyplace.org.uk
Email: Graham Kramer
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