Free «Developing a Health Literacy Program for Children in a Low-Income Urban Area» Essay Paper
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Health literacy pertains to the ability of individuals to obtain and understand the basic health information and use it in making informed health decisions. It is critical for the creation of the system of care premised on wellness and prevention. Besides, the lack of health literacy leads to the underutilization of such preventive measures as routine screening and vaccinations. It can be detrimental to the well-being of individuals. Populations that are susceptible to low health literacy include older adults, as well as people with low income levels. The paper will lay emphasis on the development of a health literacy program for children in a low-income urban area.
The information on health literacy is essential for children in low-income urban areas because they lack skills needed to maintain their health and prevent diseases (Korin, 2016). it is also important in the improvement of the quality of life, as well as the overall physical, social and mental well-being. The group can also use the information on health literacy to enlighten their loved ones and promote healthy living (Levy & Sidel, 2013). Besides, it is important to teach children how to be active participants in their personal health care because of a strong correlation between low health literacy and poor health outcomes (Korin, 2016). It can be attributed to the fact that the first factor implies the lack of adherence to health plans and more errors in taking medications. The importance of health information is applicable to children between 3-7, 9-12, and 14-18 years.
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The initial step before designing the program will be carrying out an examination on issues related to health literacy, which are prevalent among children in the specified region. It will be useful to make sure that the information, products, and services encapsulated in the program suit the needs of the target audience (Parnell, 2014). The first step will also involve pointing out the key areas that require health literacy improvement, since it is important in formulating the program to suit different age groups (Levy & Sidel, 2013). In additions it will include enlightening on what the target audience finds appealing, what is important to them, as well as what they already know and what will be the backbone of the project.
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In the beginning of the assessment phase, the main role will be outlining specific goals and objectives that are pertinent to improving health literacy for children in question. It will be important to come up with an action plan that will ensure that the health literacy program is sustainable and well-coordinated (Parnell, 2014). It will also help in creating a blueprint on efforts that can improve health literacy. However, while outlining objectives, it will be necessary to acknowledge and respect cultural differences because they can affect the way in which children respond to health information (Korin, 2016). It will ensure that the latter is relevant to the social and cultural context of the intended audience.
At the end of the program, it is significant to ensure the existence of collaboration with parents, guardians, as well as adult educators to reach an increase in the dissemination of health information to children. Additionally, it is necessary to check whether data in the designed program are accurate, accessible and actionable to target groups. In fact, prevention affects accessibility because the creation of health information does not mean that people can use or access it (Marks, 2012). Therefore, it ought to suit the needs of the target audience. For instance, the use of pictures will help children remember more as opposed to words. Besides, it will also be helpful in demonstrating how to do things rather than talking about it.
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Similarly, designing a program for children will require the use of plain language and limiting information to 3-5 key points, which will be easier for them to remember (Marotz, 2014). For instance, one can substitute the word “arthritis” with “pain in joints” and “hypertension” with “high blood pressure.” The bottom line is supplementing instructions with pictures and making sure that written communication therein is easy for children to read (Marotz, 2014). It will be helpful for the age group between 3-7 years. Besides, children of this age are eager to learn, and it will be helpful to ask open-ended questions and provide opportunities for independent decision-making. Children between 9-12 years can be taught what is right and wrong in regards to health literacy. It is because at this age, they have a higher attention span and can master more than one activity at a time. Children between 14-18 years have more developed cognitive abilities and should be taught on the importance of health literacy using more complex examples. However, it is also important to acknowledge that parents, caregivers and pediatric healthcare providers should keep children healthy (Parnell, 2014). In fact, the health literacy program should not be solely relied on because the aforementioned parties have to be actively involved.
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Required additional resources are health-education brochures that are targeted at children within different age limits. They will mostly feature diagrams and illustrations for the ease of understanding and remembrance (Marks, 2012). However, children between 3-7 years will require a plenty of physical activities and simple games. The team can also consider offering them educational video programs. Children between 9-12 years will need small booklets with fewer illustrations and diagrams. Another resource is printed educational materials reviewed by the Health Literacy Committee for cultural and linguistic appropriateness. It will be useful for children between 14-18 years. Financial resources will also be required for the literacy program to be launched in an area where families are strapped for cash. A big percentage of finances will be spent on staff training and investments in health literacy practices.