Person-focused care is believed to improve outcomes and align care with service users’ personal values. Concepts such as shared decision-making and self-management strategies are reliant upon a person’s ability and willingness to actively engage, and these are often known as patient ‘activation’. Patient empowerment tools allow clinicians to determine a person's level of knowledge, skill, and confidence, which enables the care to be tailored to the person. However, these tools are affected by a person’s level of health literacy, but the relationship between an individual’s health literacy status and capacity to understand the purpose and relevance of these tools in clinical practice remains relatively unexplored. We need to understand these relationships to reduce health inequalities, as regular healthcare service users are often regarded as a vulnerable population due to poorer health outcomes compared to the general population.
CEDAR and the Welsh Value in Health Centre, who are funding the project, want to explore the relationship between health literacy and patient empowerment using a variety of tools.
CEDAR is undertaking interviews and focus groups with patients and staff to assess the impact of health literacy on the completion of patient empowerment tools. It is hoped that these results will help inform a standard approach to measuring patient empowerment across Wales.