If patients are to participate fully in their care and in the management of a long-term condition such as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, good communication is essential. However, not all patients are able to use the written word and we need to be aware of the size of this problem and its implications for the way in which we give information and conduct medical consultations. The impact of health literacy on outcomes can be considerable and improvements can be made by being aware of the problem, offering information in several different forms, and by reinforcing the spoken word with pictorial images.
- respiratory disease
- health literacy
- chronic obstructive pulmonary disease