Australian Journal of Primary Health Australian Journal of Primary Health Society
The issues influencing community health services and primary health care
RESEARCH ARTICLE

Feasibility of an intervention to enhance preventive care for people with low health literacy in primary health care

Nighat Faruqi A B , Jane Lloyd A , Raghib Ahmad A , Lin-Lee Yeong A and Mark Harris A
+ Author Affiliations
- Author Affiliations

A Centre for Primary Health Care and Equity, Level 3, AGSM Building, University of New South Wales Kensington Campus, Sydney, NSW 2052, Australia.

B Corresponding author. Email: n.faruqi@unsw.edu.au

Australian Journal of Primary Health 21(3) 321-326 https://doi.org/10.1071/PY14061
Submitted: 26 November 2013  Accepted: 5 May 2014   Published: 10 June 2014

Abstract

The objective of the study was to explore the feasibility of an intervention that enhances preventive care for primary care patients with low health literacy. A mixed method study was conducted in four Sydney general practices in areas of socioeconomic disadvantage. The intervention included screening for low health literacy in patients aged 40–69 years, clinical record audits of care for prevention of diabetes and cardiovascular disease, and provider training and meetings. Surveys and interviews were conducted to identify providers’ approaches to, and delivery of, preventive care for people with low health literacy. Our study found variable response rates and prevalence of low health literacy. Of the eligible patients screened, 29% had low health literacy. Providers described three approaches to preventive care, which remained largely unchanged. However, they demonstrated recognition of the importance of better communication and referral support for patients with low health literacy. Fewer patients with low health literacy were identified than expected. Despite improved awareness of the need for better communication, there was limited evidence of change in providers’ approach to providing preventive care, suggesting a need for more attention towards providers’ attitudes to support these patients.


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