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Health Literacy Toolkit: Home

Practical Steps for Health Literacy

  Verbal communication  |    Patient handouts  |    Services for Patients  |  


Verbal communication - Five Tips

1. Teach-Back. This is a useful way to confirm that the information you provide to consumers is being understood. To do it, ask patients to 'teach back' to you what has been discussed or demonstrated. This is more than saying 'do you understand?'

2. Chunk and Check. This can be done in conjunction with teach-back. To do this, break up the information you are giving to consumers into smaller sizes and check for understanding along the way using teach-back rather than just at the end

3. Simple language. Avoid jargon, health terminology, acronyms etc and use plain simple to understand language. The Barwon Health Style Guide is available here [add Maureen's guide when available]

4. Use pictures. Some concepts can be difficult to explain so use pictures where appropriate

5. Universal Precautions.  60% of Australians have low health literacy and you can't always tell which ones fall into this category. Assuming that patients may not understand the information you provide is known as the universal precautions approach. 


  Written communication - Quickly Find Patient Handouts




NOTE - Barwon Health staff can also access consumer level information in PROMPT (Intranet only) - go to Advanced Search and change document type to Patient Information


The Health Translations site has reliable consumer level health information available in many languages

Barwon Health Language Services (Intranet only)

   Services for Patients

The Geelong Community Directory allows you to find many community organisations