Health Literacy for Community Services and Workers
Community Services and Workers
Health Literacy and the Community Sector
Many people in the ACT have a level of health literacy that can make it hard for them to be healthy and well. Community services are important sources of health information, education and support for people facing health literacy challenges. People who use community services can face health literacy challenges including:
- Not knowing where to go for reliable health information or health and community services,
- Difficulty understanding health information,
- Trouble filling in forms,
- Difficulty arranging and keeping appointments,
- Language and cultural barriers,
- Not participating in preventative health activities like routine screening, which can mean health problems aren’t picked up early when they are easier to solve,
- Difficulty taking medication safely, for example calculating the right dosage,
- Experiences of trauma, stigma or discrimination which makes them reluctant to get the care they need, or
- Poor mental health.
Why does health literacy matter to the community sector?
Low health literacy can result in poor health and increase the need for additional support services.
Helping to improve the health literacy of clients and service users helps reduce the risk of injury and poor health, reduces demand on services, and enables people to improve their health and wellbeing.
What can community services and workers do?
Community services and workers provide essential support to people who have lower health literacy. The term “health literacy” might be new to you, but practices that support health literacy are likely to be very familiar:
- Running health improvement programs that help people to look after their health, like nutrition and cooking workshops, exercise programs, falls prevention activities
- Running social groups and information sessions
- Helping people make and get to appointments
- Helping people to fill in forms
- Helping people to manage their medications and health conditions
- Working to remove barriers to health services
- Helping people to navigate health and community support systems
This section of the website provides resources to help workers to support and improve the health literacy of their service users and improve their own health literacy.
It also provides resources to assist workers, leaders, and organisations to build the environmental health literacy of their organisation. And it provides information about training that HCCA offers for community workers.
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Last Updated on 3 December, 2020.