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Facilitating Patient and Public Health Literacy

Helping patients and members of the public to improve their own health literacy and searching skills can have a huge long-term impact on improving their health and wellbeing.

Here is a case study from Dorset County Hospital showing how easy and rewarding it can be to help the public and staff improve their safe information searching skills.

Idea Guidance Links to relevant websites, Innovation awards, examples etc.
Hospital patients reading groups or book clubs Organise jointly between library service and Occupational Therapy team.

Set up a blog for interaction with those who can’t make meetings

Innovation Award 4

Reading for pleasure builds empathy and improves wellbeing

Poetry on the wall Library staff select a poem to be displayed on a wall in the hospital. Promotes literacy and learning. Innovation Award 2
Encourage reading for staff and patients The Reading Agency has many ideas for encouraging reading and show the evidence for improved wellbeing. For example: 6 book challenge, quick reads, mood boosting books, reading groups.

Hold a fiction collection (donations or lending from public library or book vending machine)

Read Well has free resources and storytellers who will visit children in hospital.

Trolleys with the Books on Prescription and Mood Boosting collections which can be taken round the wards so service users can borrow the books.  Put books on each of the wards in the relaxation rooms which service users can borrow on a more informal basis.

Innovation Award 3

Innovation Award 7

Innovation Award 14

Innovation Award 21

Innovation Award 24

Innovation Award 27

Reading for pleasure builds empathy and improves wellbeing

Six book challenge

Read Well


Literacy training Literacy training sessions for staff could be tailored for patients. The teach back method to check understanding is a recognised way to do this. Innovation Award 22

Teach back training

Access to reading Arrange with Council to have the mobile library service visit NHS sites Innovation Award 25
Training in research Run training in search techniques for service users Innovation Award 30
Taking the library to staff locations Book box delivery service for staff on wards Innovation Award 31
Recovery Colleges Provide materials for Recovery College (where mental health patients are students) Recovery Colleges