An Exploratory Pilot Study: Investigating Health Literacy’s Role in Diabetes Management
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Purpose: Investigate relationships between health literacy (HL), socio-demographics, diabetes self-management, and diabetic outcomes. Background/Theoretical Framework: HL has established relationship between diabetes knowledge and self-care activities. Low HL and socio-demographic factors act as barriers to positive health outcomes in patients with diabetes. The Causal Pathways Between Limited Health Literacy and Health Outcomes Framework guided this study. Methods: An exploratory pilot design utilizing convenience sampling implemented within two rural primary care clinics. Data was gathered regarding patient sociodemographics and diabetes self-management. Two validated HL tools were utilized: REALM-SF and Newest Vital Sign (NVS). Quantitative analysis included descriptive statistics, regression, and multiple regression. Results: REALM-SF found to be a predictor for diabetic self-care activities: medication adherence (p=.032) and foot care (p=.025). One socio-demographic predictor, age (p=.008), was established for REALM-SF. The socio-demographic predictors for NVS were level of education (p=.013) and age (p=.004). Diabetic outcome of A1c was found to be predicted by level of education (p=.040), while associated complications was predicted by age (p=.005). Conclusions and Implications: Assessment of HL is feasible in primary care settings and can provide pertinent information while opening lines of communication. Additionally, socio-demographic factors, specifically age and level of education, can affect HL and diabetic outcomes.