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Health literacy: Judy Hunter


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Last updated 31 January 2013 12:14 by NZTecAdmin

View comments from Judy Hunter, Co-Director of the Health Literacy project at University of Waikato, taken at the Symposium in Hamilton, July 2011.

Key content

The meaning, implications, and value of Health Literacy in New Zealand

Transcript

Health literacy has to do with understanding, accessing and using health-related information to deal with the health system that manages your healthcare and get access to it, as well as just being able to read print information.

It’s something that we haven’t really looked at yet too much in New Zealand. It’s something that can challenge every one of us if we become ill and don’t have any experience in the healthcare system. It’s something that we need to pay much more attention to because we are all implicated in it. And the healthcare system can be very difficult to navigate, it can be mysterious, it can make us feel vulnerable and powerless – and we need to have much more autonomy in dealing with it.

Health literacy is a responsibility of healthcare providers as well because the way they talk, the way they understand language, the way they use written text is quite different from any layperson, and so they have a responsibility in it too. And we can do more than just be responsive and culturally-responsive educators for people who might be patients, but we can also educate the practitioners into what learners need.

We need to know how to be culturally-responsive to healthcare issues because all of those are implicated in health literacy. So if we start with decoding text, or understanding numeracy, or understanding doses – that’s just the starting point. We need to know a lot more to be sensitive and effective educators in healthcare literacy.

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