Facilitate 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 well-being. 

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

 Ideas
  1. 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.
    • Further information about how reading for pleasure can build empathy and improve well-being can be found on the Reading Agency Website 
  1. Poetry on the wall 
    • Library staff select a poem to be displayed on a wall in the hospital. Promotes literacy and learning. 
  1. Encourage reading for staff and patients 
    • The Reading Agency has many ideas for encouraging reading and show the evidence for improved well-being.
    • For example: 6 book challenge from Read Ahead, quick reads, mood boosting books, reading groups. 
    • Hold a fiction collection (donations or lending from public library or book vending machine) 
    • Trolleys with the Reading Well Books 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. 
  1. 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.
    • Information around Health Literacy E-learning is also available.  
  1. Access to reading 
    • Arrange with Council to have the mobile library service visit NHS sites 
  1. Training in research 
    • Run training in search techniques for service users
  1. Taking the library to staff locations 
    • Book box delivery service for staff on wards 
  1. Recovery Colleges 
    • Provide materials for Recovery College (where mental health patients are students)