Health Literacy of Young Adults [18-25 years old] from the Perspective of Emergency Department Presentations

Mr Ed Davis

Research demonstrates the complexity of measuring and understanding health literacy (HL) with young adult [YA] health literacy in particular being little understood. However research does highlight low HL is tied to increased capital expenditure and over utilisation of health services; specifically, front line services such as the Emergency Department.

To improve the health literacy responsiveness of the Emergency Department for young adults through:

Assessing the health literacy of young adults that present to a regional Emergency Department [ED] through the novel use of a contemporary health literacy assessment tool; and
Assessing the HL knowledge and skills of staff within the Emergency Department.

33 young adults that presented to a regional ED consented to participate in HL data collection by 15 volunteer staff using the Conversational Health Assessment Tool [CHAT]. Confidence levels of the volunteer staff in their understanding of HL were measured pre and post study.

-Key results-
Young adults access and utilise a wide range of resources that support and inform health decision making. They are confident to apply their understanding of health to actively manage their own health. A diverse range of barriers to health do exist; evidence of these barriers is demonstrated through 48% of young adults reporting long standing illness or disability and within this group 30% indicated depression or anxiety as the illness.
Staff were noted to feel confident about HL concepts pre and post study.