October is Health Literacy Month, founded in 1999 by health literacy consultant Helen Osborne. Here at Paragon, a patient’s literacy and understanding of their particular treatment. According to many health experts, there can be an unfortunate gap between the way healthcare issues are communicated by professionals and the ability of the average person to understand those issues. Our goal will always be to educate our patients and to present information from our infusion centers, home infusion services or specialty pharmacy in a way that is easy to understand.
Healthcare is more advance than ever but also more complicated. Health literacy, as such, is critical. Good decisions require good information, and those with limited health literacy are more likely to skip necessary tests and procedures, ignore vital warning signs of illness, or have a harder time living with chronic conditions.
With that in mind, here are some helpful tips to improve your health literacy:
- Be prepared to communicate well with your physician or healthcare providers. Make a list of relevant symptoms before your appointment, have some questions prepared (and maybe even written down!) ahead of time, and if it would help you, take notes while your provider is explaining things to you.
- Before leaving an appointment with a healthcare provider or using a new prescription medication, make sure you know who to call if you have any questions.
- Localize! Seek out and attend health education programs in your community. Libraries, community centers, churches and social organizations often hold heath education seminars free of charge, which can be a great jumping-off point to learn more about many kinds of health conditions or treatments.
- Advocate for local health education policies. Talk to local schools, school districts and after-school programs and request that kids receive a quality education in personal health and health literacy to prepare them for adulthood.
Paragon prioritizes health literacy in many patient-focused ways. First, Paragon nurses, nurse practitioners, pharmacists and technicians train in the ins and outs of the infusion treatments we provide, and their goal is for you to be comfortable with them as well. Whether you’re receiving treatments in one of our comfortable infusion centers or using our Home Infusion services, you can rest assured that you will receive an accurate and understandable education on the treatment.
We also care deeply about health literacy because so many of the diseases and disorders we treat are lifelong struggles for our patients. Understanding how their conditions work, what the treatment experiences will be like, and basic skills for managing their conditions long-term empowers our patients to live with confidence, freedom and peace. A chronic, lifelong diagnosis can be scary enough on its own – you shouldn’t need to feel any anxiety about your treatment plan.
At Paragon, we also work hard to communicate your healthcare details to you using plain language. Healthcare is complicated enough that you shouldn’t need a comprehensive knowledge of pharmaceuticals or human anatomy to understand what your infusion treatment is doing and why. While some medical details can’t be broken down and simplified forever, we will do everything possible to make sure you are comfortable with your level of understanding.
Health literacy is just one of the ways Paragon strives to put our patients and the patient experience at the forefront of what we do every day. To learn more about the many conditions we treat, the infusion treatments we offer, or locations for infusion centers and pharmacies, visit our homepage at https://paragonhealthcare.com.