Just being aware of where/how to find information on health issues appears to improve Quality of life
Health Literacy Positively Associated With Health-Related QOL in Patients With COPD
American Journal of Medicine
Increased health literacy is associated with positive health-related quality of life (HRQOL) outcomes in chronic obstruction pulmonary disease (COPD) patients, according to a new study published in the Journal of Medical Internet Research.
Individuals living with COPD, a leading cause of death in the United States, report low disease-specific knowledge. Often, patients will describe feeling trapped, socially isolated, and frustrated. One million people are hospitalized for it yearly, with a 30-day readmission rate of 20%. Despite this, little attention has been paid to the health literacy of these patients.
"Inadequate access to disease-specific education on self-management is a major problem in COPD, which hinders the patients’ ability to manage symptoms and utilize health care effectively," the authors wrote.
Investigators had adults from the COPD Foundation’s National Research Registry complete an online survey that assessed several factors, such as sociodemographic characteristics, health literacy, COPD knowledge, eHealth literacy, and both generic and lung-specific HRQOL. The survey netted 1270 respondents. Nearly 94% of eligible participants were white, 55.35% were female, and respondents who self-reported not being able to speak English were omitted. Regression models were used to examine the effect of health literacy and eHealth on both generic and lung specific HRQOL.
Investigators found that health literacy was the sole predictor of generic HRQOL. Health literacy, eHealth literacy, and COPD knowledge all were predictors for lung-specific quality of life. COPD knowledge was found to be inversely associated with lung specific HRQOL. Health literacy also proved to be positively associated with most lung specific HRQOL indicators, such as cough frequency and chest tightness.
“Although previous research has shown a relatively high prevalence of low health literacy among individuals living with COPD, little attention has been directed at exploring the cognitive and health literacy- related skills that can influence patients HRQoL,” the authors wrote. “Findings from this study indicated that health literacy, but not eHealth literacy, was positively associated with generic HRQOL.”
Stellefson M, Paige SR, Alber JM, et al. Association between health literacy, electronic health literacy, disease-specific knowledge, and health-related quality of life among adults with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease: cross-sectional study. J Med Internet Res. 2019;21(6):e12165. doi: 10.2196/12165.
This is an ongoing issue = that is why the poster with picture of the various inhalers and booklets like I recently posted with cartoon like pictures of hints for ADLs. In the past, a comic book with unusual pictures showed the progression of copd from the point of view of the patient (too depressing to post here but it is a reality...)
There needs to be much better internet material and printed material from physicians/health care providers/clinics geared to a lower level of overall literacy without stigma. This article mentioned the COPD foundation survey as an example, in my view, that assumes a much higher level of literacy. The page about pul rehab has a photo of five Caucasians (one male a I remember) sitting on chairs when there are many non-white people that have copd, particularly the African american community. That photo should reflect the diversity of copd. In my rehab class, half were African american.
So is it any doubt that those that have low literacy levels don't pursue trying to find more health information. I wonder if they use YouTube more so they can hear and see information? Another study in the past showed less than 25% use their smart phones(and other devices) for health information but rather they use them for social/family sites.
Once again, this article points out the tremendous lack of the medical community participating and improving ways for their patients to get specific health information appropriate for their circumstances. Did your physician ever ask you where and how you got further information?
I agree with your comments. It is multi complex and more needs to be done to motivate people to take charge of their health. Articles about diabetics have similar issues. There have been recent articles talking about how to phrase comments to courage them to take charge, it is possible, and praise them when they are successful. I admit, I get a little frustrated/cynical, when I see so many posts that people just want to be spoon fed a recipe without wanting to understand how it will help....