6th World Nursing and Healthcare Conference
Aarhus University, Denmark
Title: Health literacy as essential in future chronic disease management
Biography: Helle Terkildsen Maindal
Health literacy, the ability to understand and gain access to healthcare, is a key aspect of health promotion and patient-centered healthcare. In many countries prevention, treatment and rehabilitation of chronic conditions such as cardiovascular diseases and diabetes mellitus are to an increasing extent carried out in outpatient settings and primary care. This gives the patient a more active role and thus increases the demands on the patients’ health literacy skills, and the professionals’ competences. Health literacy (HL) is defined by WHO as “the cognitive and social skills which determine the motivation and ability to gain access to, understand and use information in ways which promote and maintain good health”. This presentation will provide an overview of novel health literacy theory, models, empirical research and practical implication for nursing. New results from our studies of health literacy competencies in people with long term conditions (diabetes, cardiovascular disease, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, musculoskeletal disorders, cancer and mental disorders), and in people with different health behavior (diet, physical activity, smoking and alcohol) will be given together with a discussion of the association between health literacy and socio-economic characteristics across these groups. The studies are based on a large Danish Population-based survey in a representative sample (1/5 of the Danish population). The studies clearly show that certain target groups have certain challenges, and call for awareness of targeting interventions based on health literacy and modifying health services e.g. existing patient education programs to reduce inequality across long term conditions.