Positive Outcomes of a Comprehensive Health Literacy Communication Training for Health Professionals in Three European Countries: A Multi-centre Pre-post Intervention Study

Marise S Kaper*, Andrea F de Winter, Roberta Bevilacqua, Cinzia Giammarchi, Anne McCusker, Jane Sixsmith, Jaap A R Koot, Sijmen A Reijneveld

*Corresponding author for this work

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Many professionals have limited knowledge of how to address health literacy; they need a wider range of health literacy competencies to enhance empowerment and person-centred prevention. We evaluated whether: (1) a comprehensive health literacy training increased self-rated competencies of health professionals to address health literacy related problems and support the development of people's autonomy and self-management abilities after training and 6-12 weeks later, (2) professionals were satisfied with the training, (3) outcomes differed for the three participating European countries. Health professionals (N = 106) participated in a multicentre pre-post intervention study in Italy, the Netherlands and Northern Ireland. The 8-hour training-intervention involved health literacy knowledge, the practice of comprehensible communication skills, shared decision-making, and enhancing self-management. Self-rated health literacy competencies and training satisfaction were assessed at baseline, immediately after training and 6-12 weeks later, and analysed by multi-level analysis. Professionals' self-rated health literacy competencies significantly improved following training in all three countries; this increase persisted at 6-12 weeks follow-up. The strongest increase regarded professional's skills to enhance shared-decision making and enabling self-management after training and follow-up respectively. Professionals perceived the training as relevant for practice. Competency increases seemed to be consistent across countries. In three countries, professionals' self-rated health literacy competencies increased following this comprehensive training. These promising findings should be confirmed in a further full effect study. Implementation of this training in European education and health care may improve person-centred communication by professionals and might help to tackle health literacy related problems and to strengthen people's abilities in achieving better health outcomes.

Original languageEnglish
Article number3923
Number of pages14
JournalInternational Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health
Issue number20
Publication statusPublished - 15-Oct-2019

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