Health Literacy and Culturally Diverse Older Adults

Tuesday, 23 July 2013: 10:45 AM

Sharon Cannon, EdD, RN, ANEF
Joyce Miller, DNP, RN, WHNP-BC, FNP-BC
Carol Boswell, EdD, RN, CNE, ANEF
Lori Hammond, MSN, RN
School of Nursing, Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center, Odessa, TX

Learning Objective 1: Describe the reliability and validity process for a health literacy assessment tool(HELP).

Learning Objective 2: Apply the evidence-based process in a health literacy assessment with culturally diverse older adults.

Health literacy has gradually been acknowledged by the health care community and is beginning to be recognized as an issue in caring for the elderly who have complex health care problems.  A West Texas acute care hospital initiated an evidence-based project to provide better outcomes for a culturally diverse population of older adults being discharged from the hospital by addressing health literacy. The hospital collaborated with four faculty members from a local university school of nursing who had previously established reliability and validity for an eight item English version of the Health Education Level Performance (HELP) tool. Results from that study indicated the tool could be reduced to two questions. The objective of this endeavor was to establish reliability and validity for the HELP tool in an eight questions and two-question format in both English and Spanish administered to older adults prior to being discharged from the hospital.  A sample of older adults (Population) (n=220) on medical/surgical units were targeted to assess their health literacy (Intervention).  Demographic data was collected and results of the project were analyzed. The results were the establishment of the reliability and validity of the HELP tool in two languages and a shorter version of the tool (Comparison). A valid and reliable tool, especially one that is shorter will assist in the assessment of health literacy in older adults in a diverse population (Outcome). The assessment will provide evidence useful for discharge planning to avoid readmissions due to ineffective discharge education. Evidence suggests readmissions are related to the lack of health literacy assessments for discharge education, and a Spanish HELP tool provides additional opportunities for health literacy assessments in Latino cultures.