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Being a Patient

February 7, 2012

When I was in college I had to take a general medical/health class about types of things that children may or may not come down with.  For one of our projects we had to each make an informative brochure that would be given out to theoretical parents of our classroom.  There was a catch though, it had to have all the relevant information and be written at an eighth grade reading level because that is apparently the average reading level of American adults.  This is scary to know, but it’s good to know.  I’d like to know how many doctors know this.

For the pure fact that we’re humans, we’ve been patients our whole lives.  We’ve had to be informed too.  When we were small, we had our caregivers to be informed, and as adults we must be informed.  Being informed is HARD.  Sometimes I still don’t feel informed.  I have come under the impression that my health professionals more aptly listen when I come in as an informed patient.  Sometimes though, it is hard!  When I have a million questions and can’t understand why my body is acting the way that it is, I don’t feel informed.  Luckily I have my family & friends & fellow DOC members to help me as well.

But what about those people who don’t?  How do they do it?  There are people without access to resources to become informed.  There are people who may not understand the information they have been given.  Or maybe there has been too much time between receiving the information and needing to use it.  What happens to these patients?  What if there is not enough time (or it is to busy) to focus on them & give them the information they need.  What happens to these patients?  Most of me being informed comes from the internet, but there are plenty of patients without that access, or without the knowledge & comfortableness to access the information on the internet.  (And let’s be serious, unless you are used to medical information on the internet, it can be a scary place.)  What happens?  Do they fall through the cracks?  Are they given treatments they aren’t comfortable with or don’t know how to use? What happens?

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One Comment leave one →
  1. February 7, 2012 7:18 PM

    Re: 8th grade reading level

    I work in a medical library and we’re big on health literacy here. Sometimes it’s hard to keep the information we send out to the public at a good reading level but we try.

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