Improving health literacy in seniors with chronic illness

Improving health literacy in seniors with chronic illness examines health literacy in detail. How do patients and carers learn about disease management? How do they develop their self-management abilities and learn to navigate complex health systems? What is the patient and carer experience of managing chronic disease?

The ageing population means there are more people faced with the slow decline of physical and mental function, and the distress and bewilderment that can bring. Consequently, the health system and the community generally need to focus on social support as well as medical problems. One health policy response has been to call for stronger patient engagement.

This means patients know more about their condition and have the confidence to manage their illness at home and make informed decisions. Patient engagement is recognised as a central point in most chronic care models, often described under self-care, self-management programs and self-management support. It makes sense for governments trying to keep health systems financially viable, and for patients and carers wanting more control over their lives and health.

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