Assume all patients or clients may have
difficulty comprehending health
information and accessing health services
To help clinicians, the AHRQ has put together a Health Literacy Universal Precautions Toolkit.
Effectively communicating with your clients, patients, and the general public is a crucial part of improving their health and well being.
So what is Health Communication?
Plain language is clear communication that the general public can easily understand. The Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) has a great page explaining the details about plain language.
Plain Language Basics
Use the tools below to help you figure out whether your handouts, displays, etc. use any language that might be hard for your audience to understand.
CDC Clear Communication Index
More Education about Plain Language
Here are some documents that will help you learn and improve your own teach back practice.
Preparing the Content
Corcoran, N. (2007). Theories and models in communication health messages. In N. Corcoran (Ed.) Communicaing health: Strategies for health promotion. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.
All of the principles on this page apply to older adults as well, but here are some additional tips for communicating with this population.
(adapted from The Gerontological Society of America's Communicating with Older Adults: An Evidence-Based Review of What Really Works)
"How has your condition impacted your daily life?"
"What do you know about your condition and how it works?"
(Based on Betancourt, Green, & Carillo's Cross-Cultural Care and Communication, Up To Date, 2016)
For more details and recommendations about communicating across cultures, take a look at Better Communication, Better Care: Provider Tools to Care for Diverse Populations.
Culturally effective providers are able to communicate with Limited English Proficiency (LEP) clients in culturally and linguistically appropriate ways. This means using an interpreter whenever possible and providing translated health information. The following resources have information on using interpreters, sources of translated health information handouts, and additional tools for communicating with LEP clients.
Please visit our Health Literacy and Communication guide for more resources and best practices for communicating with clients.