October is Health Literacy Month

WVU group to distribute File of Life at Health Expo

MORGANTOWN, W.Va. – Almost 40 million Americans read at or below the fifth-grade level. Despite this staggering figure, most health information is produced at the 10th grade reading level or above.

The gap between what the healthcare industry produces and what patients understand leaves many individuals unable to read and follow healthcare information or to find their way around the healthcare environment. 

In recognition of Health Literacy Month, the West Virginia University health literacy workgroup will focus its efforts at October’s WVU Health Expo on helping people organize their health information. Volunteers will distribute “plain language” brochures that include checklists for doctor’s appointments, questions to ask healthcare providers, screening guidelines and more.

The group will also distribute the “File of Life,” a card that enables medics to obtain a quick medical history when a patient is unable to offer one. The card, which is kept in a red plastic pocket, lists the patient name, emergency medical contact, insurance policy, social security number, health problems, medications, dosages, allergies, recent surgery, religion and a healthcare proxy. The entire pocket is held with a magnet to the outside of the refrigerator.

To learn more, visit the Health Literacy table at the WVU Health Expo at the Morgantown Mall Friday (Oct. 9) from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m.


For more information:
Amy Johns, HSC News Service, 304-293-7087
md: 10-02-09

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