Improving Health Literacy Could Boost Access to Hospice, Palliative Care
Posted on Friday, January 3, 2020 8:03 PM
According to the Institute of Medicine, health literacy is the degree in which a person can obtain, process and understand their health information in order to make decisions about their healthcare. Patients who are unable to process their health issues and options often miss out on better options that would coincide with their wishes. Palliative Care and Hospice services are often misunderstood by patients with lower health literacy, thereby causing a delay in utilization of these services.
“A lot of us are walking around with false assumptions about our diagnosis and about our prognosis. An enormous number of people who are living with stage four cancers that are not curable believe that they are curable,” B.J. Miller, hospice and palliative care physician at the University of California Helen Diller Family Comprehensive Cancer Center, told Hospice News. “An under-informed public is not necessarily going to make great decisions for themselves, especially in our health care system where no one has the time to really educate people.”
It's estimated that 71% of adults do not know that palliative care exists and that if they did, 80% would choose it for themselves or a loved one.
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