Does clinic visit education within a multidisciplinary center improve health literacy scores in caregivers of children with complex colorectal conditions?

Document Type

Journal Article

Publication Date



Journal of Pediatric Surgery








Caregivers; Complex colorectal malformations; Health literacy; Pediatric colorectal conditions


© 2017 Introduction Health literacy is low in an estimated one-third of the US population. Little is known about the health literacy of caregivers of children with colorectal conditions. The objective of this study was to investigate whether a timed health literacy intervention could improve health literacy in this population. Methods We used the BRIEF Health Literacy screening (BHLS) tool on caregivers of children who came to our colorectal clinic. Health literacy was categorized as inadequate, marginal, or adequate. The number of caregivers with adequate health literacy was compared to the number of clinic visits and socioeconomic status. Results We included 233 caregivers. The average number of clinic visits was 3.5 over 1.2 years. At the first clinic visit, 70% (n = 98) of caregivers had “adequate” health literacy. Scores improved to 88% (p = 0.024) after the fourth visit. Socioeconomic factors were not associated with health literacy. Patients of caregivers with “adequate” health literacy visited our clinic 3.8 times, compared to 2.7 times for those with lower literacy (p = 0.006). Conclusion Emphasis on providing an education-based approach at each visit increased health literacy significantly. As expected, health literacy was lowest during the first visit, which we believe is the optimal time to implement educational interventions. Type of study Case Control/Retrospective Comparative Study. Level of evidence Level III.

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