Health literacy project aims to improve diabetes management

A woman standing in a medical treatment area holding a folder
The University of Western Australia PhD student and Nurse Practitioner Jennifer Nicholas at the Fiona Stanley Hospital Diabetes Clinic.
July 11, 2018

Understanding how health literacy impacts people with type 1 diabetes in managing their condition is part of a study being undertaken at the Fiona Stanley Hospital Diabetes Clinic by The University of Western Australia PhD student and Nurse Practitioner Jennifer Nicholas.

By looking at health literacy data, Jennifer’s project aims to inform strategies which can be used to mitigate risk factors contributing to poorer diabetes health outcomes.

“The management of diabetes is complex and very unique to each person living with the condition,” Jennifer said.

“We want to understand the relationship between health literacy, diabetes knowledge, contextual factors, psychological distress and coping styles, and how these may influence diabetes-related health outcomes.

“Healthcare professionals need to understand how to clearly identify individual barriers and then plan individual care accordingly, and understanding and having access to health information may be one of these barriers for patients.”

The Australian Commission on Safety and Quality in Healthcare has identified that approximately 60 per cent of Australians have less than adequate health literacy.

“There is little Australian data showing the association between health literacy, knowledge and psychological factors associated with the burdens that can influence health outcomes for adults with type 1 diabetes,” Jennifer said.

“This study aims to fill a gap in knowledge and provide data to guide our health care practices, with the aim of more targeted and personalised diabetes self-management education to every individual.”

The study has almost finished recruitment of 100 participants.

Read more about our research in the South Metropolitan Health Service Research Report 2017 (PDF 3.4MB).