Towards appropriate information provision for and decision-making with patients with limited health literacy in hospital-based palliative care in Western countries: A scoping review into available communication strategies and tools for healthcare providers
Journal article, Peer reviewed
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Original versionBMC Palliative Care. 2019, 18:37, 1-10. 10.1186/s12904-019-0421-x
Background Person-centred palliative care poses high demands on professionals and patients regarding appropriate and effective communication and informed decision-making. This is even more so for patients with limited health literacy, as they lack the necessary skills to find, understand and apply information about their health and healthcare. Recognizing patients with limited health literacy and adapting the communication, information provision and decision-making process to their skills and needs is essential to achieve desired person-centred palliative care. The aim of this study is to summarize available strategies and tools for healthcare providers towards successful communication, information provision and/or shared decision-making in supporting patients with limited health literacy in hospital-based palliative care in Western countries. Methods A scoping review was conducted. First, databases PubMed, Embase, CINAHL, and PsycINFO were searched. Next, grey literature was examined using several online databases and by contacting national experts. In addition, all references of included studies were checked. Results Five studies were included that showed that there are face-to-face, written as well as online strategies available for healthcare providers to support communication, information provision and, to a lesser extent, (shared) decision-making in palliative care for patients with limited health literacy. Strategies that were mentioned several times were: teach-back method, jargon-free communication and developing and testing materials with patients with limited health literacy, among others. Two supporting tools were found: patient decision aids and question prompt lists. Conclusions To guarantee high quality person-centred palliative care, the role of health literacy should be considered. Although there are several strategies available for healthcare providers to facilitate such communication, only few tools are offered. Moreover, the strategies and tools appear not specific for the setting of palliative care, but seem helpful for providers to support the communication, information provision and decision making with patients with limited health literacy in general. Future research should focus on which strategies or tools are (most) effective in supporting patients with limited health literacy in palliative care, and the implementation of these strategies and tools in practice.
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