To answer the question locally, Dr. Carole Pepa, an associate professor of nursing at Valparaiso University, is leading a study to determine whether chemotherapy patients are helped by more readable health brochures.The study originated at The Methodist Hospitals, where Pepa is also a member of the nursing research committee.
Several nursing students at Valparaiso University
, along with Drs.
said chemotherapy patients were selected because they typically receive the same family of drugs.She
argues some of the current information for prescription drugs is written at a 12th grade or college reading level, making it difficult for the average person to understand.
"Less than a quarter of the population reads at that level," Pepa
Some of the newly designed forms feature more inviting designs, which include more white space, colors and larger type.
"It's material you'd want to look at and pick up," she
said low literacy adds tremendously to health care costs, particularly if patients don't understand directions or possible side effects.
"In those cases, patients might make a mistake with the medication and have to be admitted to an emergency room," Pepa
Regardless of the study's outcome, Pepa
said the new information will help patients.
"It will give us information that will help us design something that works," Pepa