Health education materials: where are the patients?
Inadequate health literacy is a barrier to positive health outcomes and often leads to increased hospital readmissions. Congestive heart failure patients are among the top populations with the tendency to be readmitted to the hospital within 30 days of being discharged. African American females represent a particular population with a significant number being affected by cardiovascular disease. A general qualitative research approach utilizing a semi-structured interview was used to investigate the perceptions that African American adult female patients diagnosed with congestive heart failure have of the healthcare materials that they receive or if there are other factors that influence the discharge process. Results showed that three key factors were identified as influential in the discharge process: 1) consumer-friendly information and materials; 2) humanization; and 3) expertise of the health care team. Consumer-friendly information and materials included readability and comprehensiveness. Humanization included the health care providers showing patience, patient-centered care and personal touch. Expertise of the health care team included exhibiting professionalism and effective communication skills. In conclusion, relationship building and communication skills were factors valued by the patients, other than the materials themselves, which positively influenced the patients’ perceptions of the discharge process and fostered knowledge transfer from health care provider to patient.