Posted on Monday, February 8, 2021

Health literacy is the degree to which individuals can process and understand basic health information and services needed to make appropriate decisions about their health.  A recent study published in the American Journal of Hospice & Palliative Medicine showed that patients with a lower health literacy are more likely to try experimental treatments or heroic measures at the end of their life versus choosing hospice.

“Medicare beneficiaries who resided in low health literacy areas were likely to receive aggressive end-of-life care,” the study indicated. “Tailored efforts to improve health literacy and facilitate patient-provider communications in low health literacy areas could reduce end-of-life care intensity.”

“Patients who lack an understanding of health care information or terminology, do not understand their own illnesses, or who misconstrue the nature of hospice or palliative care may lack the necessary tools to make an informed decision about their end-of-life wishes”.

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