Health Lit­er­acy is still an is­sue in Canada

Prairie Post (West Edition) - - Health - COMMUNITYWIRE

Oc­to­ber is Health Lit­er­acy Month, a time to in­crease un­der­stand­ing of health in­for­ma­tion and for Cana­di­ans to take charge of their health. Ac­cord­ing to the Pub­lic Health Agency of Canada, 60 per cent of Cana­dian adults and 88 per cent of se­niors are not health lit­er­ate.

In recog­ni­tion of Health Lit­er­acy Month, ABC Life Lit­er­acy Canada has de­vel­oped nine new re­sources for pa­tients and health care providers as part of the ABC Health Mat­ters pro­gram. Good health lit­er­acy means be­ing able to ac­cess, un­der­stand, eval­u­ate, com­mu­ni­cate and use info re­lated to your health to make ap­pro­pri­ate health de­ci­sions.

The ABC Health Mat­ters pro­gram was cre­ated to help Cana­di­ans to man­age their health more ef­fec­tively by in­creas­ing their con­fi­dence when talk­ing about and mak­ing de­ci­sions re­gard­ing health is­sues. ABC Life Lit­er­acy de­vel­oped a work­book-led work­shop, de­liv­ered at com­mu­nity learn­ing and health care cen­tres across On­tario. Through the pro­gram, adults de­velop a deeper un­der­stand­ing of how to ad­vo­cate for their own health as well as the health of their fam­ily and gain a bet­ter un­der­stand­ing of how to ac­cess health care.

“It would be hard to find some­thing more per­sonal to some­one than their health,” said ABC Ex­ec­u­tive Di­rec­tor Mack Rogers. “It can be frus­trat­ing and some­times fright­en­ing to feel as if you don’t have con­trol over your own health which is why we cre­ated the ABC Health Mat­ters pro­gram. The pro­gram em­pow­ers Cana­di­ans to man­age their health more ef­fec­tively and in­creases their con­fi­dence in dis­cussing their health is­sues with health care providers.”

This year, ad­di­tional re­sources were de­vel­oped for the ABC Health Mat­ters pro­gram to help Cana­di­ans take charge of their health dur­ing Health Lit­er­acy Month. Re­sources avail­able at ABCHealthMat­ters.ca in­clude:

• Health Pass­port – pocket-sized guide for pa­tients when speak­ing with health care providers;

• Med­i­cal His­tory Card – a place to keep track of med­i­cal his­tory to keep with you;

• Tips for Your Doc­tor Visit – sam­ple ques­tions for pa­tients when speak­ing with their doc­tor;

• You and Your Phar­ma­cist – de­tails of sup­port avail­able from your lo­cal phar­ma­cist;

• Your Rights as a Pa­tient – your rights and re­spon­si­bil­i­ties as a pa­tient;

• Car­ing for Loved ones – tips for care­givers for how to sup­port and ad­vo­cate for some­one un­der your care.

Tools were also cre­ated for health care providers to sup­port com­mu­ni­ca­tion with pa­tients with low lit­er­acy as well as posters for place­ment in wait­ing rooms and the phar­macy with ques­tions and info for pa­tients.

“Ab­bVie is proud to be a found­ing mem­ber of the ABC Health Mat­ters pro­gram,” says Stéphane Lassig­nardie, Gen­eral Man­ager of Ab­bVie Canada. “We be­lieve that ev­ery Cana­dian should be an ad­vo­cate for their own health. When you un­der­stand the health care sys­tem, you are bet­ter equipped to nav­i­gate its in­tri­ca­cies and ac­cess the right ser­vices for your­self and your fam­ily. This will re­sult in im­proved health out­comes for all.”

Health Lit­er­acy Month is a great op­por­tu­nity for Cana­di­ans to com­mit to in­creas­ing their health lit­er­acy and the new ABC Health Mat­ters re­sources will give them the tools to do just that. ABC Life Lit­er­acy will also launch an aware­ness cam­paign lead­ing up to Health Lit­er­acy Month to heighten aware­ness and ac­cess to the free ABC Health Mat­ters tools and re­sources.

Oc­to­ber is Health Lit­er­acy Month

• 60 per cent of Cana­dian adults and 88 per cent of se­niors are not health lit­er­ate;

• ABC Life Lit­er­acy launches nine new re­sources as part of its ABC Health Mat­ters pro­gram;

• Low lit­er­acy is as­so­ci­ated with poor health out­comes. ABC Health Mat­ters was cre­ated with the sup­port of Ab­bVie Cor­po­ra­tion. Two work­books that can be used for work­shop de­liv­ery or for learn­ing at home as well as the new re­sources are avail­able for free down­load at ABCHealthMat­ters.ca.

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