Community services and workers provide essential support to people who face high demands on their health literacy. The term “health literacy” might be new to you, but practices that support health literacy may be very familiar. These include:
- Running health improvement programs, like nutrition and cooking workshops, exercise programs and falls prevention activities
- Running information sessions on health topics
- Helping people make and get to appointments
- Helping people to fill in forms
- Helping people to manage their health and medications
- Helping people to navigate health and social care systems
You can help service users to improve their health literacy by encouraging them to:
There are many evidence-based tools and strategies that you can use to support health literacy when working with clients. Some of these include:
- Motivational interviewing
- Teach back is a technique that can be used to check that your client has understood information you have given them. It is widely promoted for use in health settings, but it is a method that can be used in any setting and for any information.
- Building self efficacy
HCCA offers a training course that provides community workers with skills and strategies to support health literacy – so that service users can access health services, make decisions and manage health issues. The training builds on the experience and knowledge that workers already have to also:
- Increase community workers’ knowledge of how the health system works in the ACT, and
- Increase community workers’ own health literacy skills and confidence.