This year, Engaging the Patient will share daily blog posts not only from notable health literacy experts like Michael Wolf and Paul Smith and organizations like Health Literacy Missouri, but also from patient and caregiver point of view.

In fact, one of this year’s themes will focus on Health Literacy and Caregivers.


You’ll hear from people like Randi Redmond Oster, a mom whose son has Crohn’s Disease. And in a follow-up to last year’s article on cost, Casey Quinlan and Jeanne Pinder provide help for consumers as they confront Healthcare Cost Literacy.

Health Literacy Month on Engaging the Patient will kickoff on Tuesday, October 1st. Watch for a new article every weekday.

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Geri Lynn's picture


Geri Baumblatt
Geri Lynn Baumblatt, Editorial Director
This year, in addition to health literacy thought leaders and clinicians, I’m extremely happy a number of patients and caregivers are also writing from their point of view. In fact, a few articles will focus specifically on health literacy and caregivers.
In our efforts focus on the patient, engaging and communicating with them, we sometimes forget that a huge part of their success is the family member sitting out in the waiting room or at home. And even when they are part of the discussion, do we truly recognize what we’re asking of them? Caregivers need to not only understand the patient’s health condition, but to be able to care for their wounds, safely do transfers, or understand why they need to keep o favorite snack away from a parent or spouse -- that alone is no small task.
For me, the difficulty of all this crystallized when I watched my own mom, who was trained as a nurse, work tirelessly to take care of my dad. She had medical experience. But even with that, it’s overwhelming. She even felt guilt handing off the caregiver responsibility to a home health care worker even for part of the day so she could get some sleep or leave the house to run errands. I recommend Katy Butler’s eloquent article What Broke My Father’s Heart, which demonstrates the toll caregiving often takes.
Consider also that more and more caregivers are themselves older. My dad was a two-person transfer – it took 2 people to move him from a bed to a chair. Even when a home health care worker is there to help, do you worry your mom who is herself in her mid-70’s might get hurt helping with this? How can you not? Read more of this post
Geri Lynn's picture

A Mom’s Need For More Medical Knowledge is a Prescription for a Better Night's Sleep

Guest Contributor: Randi Redmond Oster

The process for my son’s doctor’s appointment is consistent: Check in, and confirm insurance has not changed. Go with the nurse who weighs and measures his height. Then, wait in the GI exam room where there is a huge color poster of the digestive system. My son, Gary, no longer kills time tracing his finger, as if it’s a piece of food through a maze, reciting each organ, along the way. It’s a game he’s played far too many times. He has Crohn’s and has a new pain. Eventually, the doctor enters the exam room.

Read the rest here:

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