Relationship of Caregiver Health Literacy to Readiness for Discharge Following a Child's Hospitalization

Hutchinson, Jennifer, Nursing - Graduate School of Arts and Sciences, University of Virginia
Kennedy, Christine, School of Nursing, University of Virginia

The field of health literacy research is relatively new. As a result, there is a lack of studies on health literacy that relate specifically to the pediatric population. Low health literacy in America is estimated to characterize at least one-third of the adult population. Many of these adults are parents, and inadequate caregiver health literacy has been shown to negatively affect the health of children. With shorter hospital stays now a part of the modern health care system, it is crucial that nurses prepare caregivers to care for their children after hospital stays. The purpose of this study was to determine if caregivers’ health literacy level affects their perception of readiness for discharge following the hospitalization of a child. The relationship of caregiver health literacy to caregivers’ post-discharge coping and utilization of support and health care services for the child also was explored. Participants recruited for the study were caregivers of patients admitted to an 11-bed, general medical/surgical pediatric unit in central Virginia between November 2014 and March 2015. Data collection took place on the pediatric unit while the child was hospitalized and by telephone after the child’s discharge. In this study, caregiver health literacy was not significantly related to readiness for hospital discharge, post-discharge coping difficulty, or utilization of health services after hospital discharge. Further research is needed to determine if there are identifying characteristics of caregivers who report being unready for discharge, and who have difficulty coping after a child’s hospitalization, as this information can be used to guide the development of nursing interventions to improve caregivers’ readiness for discharge.

PHD (Doctor of Philosophy)
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