Have you ever struggled to understand how to take a medication, or prepare for a medical test? You aren’t alone! Many people have difficulties understanding oral and/or written information related to their health. This situation is magnified for people who have difficulty reading. In this context, people may feel powerless, uncomfortable or ashamed when they go to a clinic, pharmacy, hospital or use other health services.
With the Mot à Maux project, Le Sac à mots (SAM) and the Yamaska Literacy Council (YLC) aim to improve the ability and confidence of people with low literacy to access, understand and use information related to their health. In Quebec, 49% of adults (16-65 years) are considered to have low literacy skills based on an international survey. SAM and YLC will collaborate with other community organizations, health care workers and people with low literacy, in order to develop tools and training to address the needs of adults with low literacy skills. Additionally, the project aims to equip health care professionals with some tips to recognize when someone is struggling with low literacy, and provide appropriate support. According to Pamela Dillon, YLC tutor and member of the Users’ Comittee – CSSS La Pommeraie, this is an exciting project for the community : “It’s an example of a collaboration between English and French community groups. It will reduce barriers that adults with low literacy face in navigating their health, and ultimately improve health outcomes for people in our community. ” The project runs from May until October. Project updates will appear on YLC’s blog.