The role of the nurse in improving health literacy among older adults

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Introduction. The level of health literacy tells us how an individual functions within the healthcare system, how well he or she understands the instructions connected to health care, and how he or she looks after own health. However, at the same time, it can be an indicator of how healthy an individual is going to be in the future. In our research we wanted to establish the role of a nurse in improving health literacy among older adults.

Method. The research was based on a quantitative research approach, using descriptive method. Data were collected with the interviewing technique. As a measuring instrument, a questionnaire formed on the basis of the review of domestic and foreign, professional and scientific literature, was used. We used a non-random purposive pattern, in which we included 148 older adults aged 65 years and above, who live in different residential environments and do not suffer from dementia. There were 140 correctly completed questionnaires, which represent a 94% realization of the sample. The data were analyzed by statistical program SPSS 22.0.

Results. Older adults who took part in the research have achieved limited health literacy in the fields of general health literacy (AV=27.0), healthcare (AV=26.2), disease prevention (AV=28.8) and health promotion (AV=26.6). In the field of nurse counseling they achieved sufficient health literacy (AV=34.6).

Discussion and conclusion. Health literacy is one of the factors that significantly affect the quality of life of older adults. We established that older adults who took part in the research have limited health literacy. The nurses can significantly contribute to improving the health literacy of older adults through health-educational work and health promotion. In the future, the role of the nurse in health promotion will have to become more prominent, particularly through their work in reference clinics and reference centers for health promotion.

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