Health literacy and optimizing education materials in a surgical population

Eline Mariose Dijkman, Jobbe Pierre Lucien Leenen, Remco Matthijs Koorn, Diana Wilmink


Objective: The aim is to examine and compare the level of health literacy (HL) amongst surgical vascular and abdominal patients and measuring the understandability and actionability of current and optimized education materials.

Methods: A cross-sectional design was utilized. Patients undergoing abdominal or vascular surgery, were included for measuring HL with the Newest Vital Sign Dutch (NVS-d) tool. The Dutch version of the Patient Education Materials Assessment Tool (PEMAT) was used to measure the understandability and actionability of current and optimized patient education materials.

Results: A total of 101 patients were included, of those 54 (53.5%) have limited HL. Patients with limited HL were significantly older (p < .001), lower educated (p < .001), and had a higher ASA status (p = .005) and Charlson Comorbidity Index score (p < .001). The occurrence of limited HL differed significantly (p = .046) between abdominal versus vascular patients. The understandability varied between 24%-59% and the actionability between 40%-67% of the current education materials. The optimized education materials had a understandability score of 86% and a actionability score of 100%.

Conclusions: The high prevalence of inadequate HL emphasizes the importance of nursing and medical staff providing clear information to enable shared decision-making. Besides, it is necessary to evaluate current education materials and optimize these materials according to the level of health literacy to provide health information that is understandable.


Journal of Nursing Education and Practice

ISSN 1925-4040 (Print)   ISSN 1925-4059 (Online)

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