Parent health literacy and satisfaction with plain language education materials in a pediatric surgery outpatient clinic: a pilot study
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BACKGROUND: Although significant, the issue of health literacy (HL) among parents attending pediatric surgery outpatient clinics has received little attention. PURPOSE: The objectives of this study are to determine the HL skills of parents attending the pediatric surgery outpatient clinic at McMaster Children's Hospital and to describe parent satisfaction with plain language materials. METHODS: This cross-sectional study was conducted at the pediatric surgery outpatient clinic at McMaster Children's Hospital. Using convenience sampling for 4 months, parents were recruited and interviewed regarding their demographic status. The Newest Vital Sign tool was used to assess HL. Feedback on the plain language education material was received. RESULTS: Seventy-nine individuals were recruited, with a recruitment rate of 62%. Seventy-one percent had adequate HL. English as a first language and Canada as the place of birth were significantly correlated with adequate HL (r = 0.367, P < .001; r = 0.259, P < .05). Parents reported satisfaction with the plain language material, regardless of their HL level. CONCLUSION: Twenty-nine percent of parents showed inadequate HL, likely an underestimate owing to study limitations. Parents expressed satisfaction with the plain language material, emphasizing the need for clear, effective communication with patients and families. Future directions include evaluating staff knowledge of a universal precautions approach to health communication and the accessibility of plain language materials.
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