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Sat Mar 17, 2012, 08:19 AM

Poor literacy 'increases early death risk for elderly'


One in three adults aged over 65 in England have difficulty understanding basic health-related information, suggests a study in the BMJ.

They are more than twice as likely to die within five years as adults with no literacy problems, it was found.

The University College London study tested nearly 8,000 adults on their understanding of aspirin instructions.

The Patients Association said patients should help draft information leaflets so they are "relevant and clear".

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Reply Poor literacy 'increases early death risk for elderly' (Original post)
xchrom Mar 2012 OP
kickysnana Mar 2012 #1
xchrom Mar 2012 #2
kestrel91316 Mar 2012 #3
Odin2005 Mar 2012 #4

Response to xchrom (Original post)

Sat Mar 17, 2012, 10:05 AM

1. I filled 23 prescriptions this month. Several pills look identical in shape, size and color.

They do however have script and numbers on them I can read with glasses and a magnifying glass.

If I could not read the bottles could I remember by the end of the month that I take one oval small white pill once a day and one medium oval large pill twice a day and one large oval white pill three times a day?

How long before I made that fatal error and took too much or too little of something?

My Aunts pre-appointment Specialist's mailed instructions told her to hand carry her medical records into this particular specialist's office at the time of the appointment and if you did not have them then your appointment would be canceled. This one is booking out in April.

Many of my pills cannot be taken together. Many cannot be taken with food. Many have to be taken with food.

They send people home from lung lobe removal in 4 days or to a nursing home if you can afford it or can get in on short notice. When you are that debilitated and on pain meds even if you can read it is very possible to make medication errors. Did I take that already or not?

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Response to kickysnana (Reply #1)

Sat Mar 17, 2012, 10:15 AM

2. i'm grateful for medications on the 1 hand --

and worry that i'm taking them correctly on the other.

every time i take pills i read the bottles -- as if i haven't read them a thousand times already.

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Response to xchrom (Original post)

Sat Mar 17, 2012, 10:40 AM

3. At least half my age 25-60 American clients have obvious trouble


comprehending the medical instructions I give them for their pets (like how many pills of this or that type to give, and how many times a day). There is great confusion over exactly what "Give two pills twice a day" means. Clue: It does NOT mean one pill in the AM and one pill in the PM.

I don't know how to dumb it down. Is it ME??

And if I say "twice a day", why on earth is there confusion about WHEN that should be? Morning and evening should suffice, but if I say that, they get all flummoxed and upset because they have a job and personal obligations and such.

I NEVER say "every 12 hours" because that unleashes a whole shitstorm of confusion and frustration to the point where I get a panicked phone call if it's been 13 hours and the client wants to know "What do I DO???!!!???"

"Once a day" is even worse. In veterinary medicine we virtually never coordinate meds with eating because it's impossible. So give the damned pill at about the same time every day and stop calling me about it in a panic already.

Jesus wept.

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Response to kestrel91316 (Reply #3)

Sun Mar 18, 2012, 03:15 PM

4. The majority of Americans are functionally illiterate.

They simply cannot comprehend anything more advanced than a 4th or 5th grade level.

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