Delaware County Council joined members of the Delaware County Health Literacy Coalition during its Oct. 23 public council meeting to recognize October as National Health Literacy Month.
National Health Literacy Month, founded in 1999 by therapist and author, Helen Osborne is a month designated for organizations and individuals to raise awareness and promote the importance of understanding health information. The mission is to bring together hospitals, health centers, literacy programs, libraries, businesses, government agencies, and others to collaboratively raise awareness and develop plans for better health literacy.
“While having access to good medical care and medication is key to optimal health, patients must also have an understanding of their health including treatments, medications, and prevention,” said Councilman Kevin Madden.
Studies show that a significant number of people have difficulty reading and/or understanding health information. Health information can be complex and medical terminology can be daunting for some. Literacy skills, language, age, disabilities, and culture can also affect the way people receive and process information.
In 2016 a group of healthcare professionals, educators and business leaders in the county formed the Delaware County Health Literacy Coalition. Their goal is to ensure Delaware County residents can obtain, process and understand basic health information so they can make informed decisions about their health. The coalition’s mission is to enhance communication and understanding between medical personnel and patients, therefore, improving patient outcomes. The Health Literacy Coalition works with the County’s Department of Intercommunity Health to provide this valuable service to all residents, across the county.
More information, including resources on health literacy, can be found here: www.delcopa.gov/ich/resources/healthliteracy