Objective: Although low parent health literacy (HL) has been linked to poor child health outcomes, it is not known whether differences in perceptions related to access to care and provider-parent partnership in care are potential contributing factors. We sought to assess whether parent HL is associated with differences in perceived barriers to care and attitudes regarding participatory decision-making with the provider.
Methods: This was a cross-sectional analysis of data collected from parents presenting with their child to an urban public hospital pediatric clinic in New York City. Dependent variables were caregiver-reported barriers to care (ability to reach provider at night/on weekends, difficult travel to clinic) and attitudes towards participatory decision-making (feeling like a partner, relying on doctor's knowledge, leaving decisions up to the doctor, being given choices/asked opinion). The primary independent variable was caregiver HL (Short Test of Functional Health Literacy in Adults [S-TOHFLA]).
Results: A total of 823 parents were assessed; 1 in 4 (27.0%) categorized as having low HL. Parents with low HL were more likely to report barriers to care than those with adequate HL: trouble reaching provider nights/weekends, 64.9% vs. 49.6%, (p < 0.001, adjusted odds ratio [AOR] 1.7, 95% confidence interval [95% CI] 1.2-2.4); difficult travel, 15.3% vs. 8.0%, (p = 0.004, AOR 1.8, 95% CI 1.1-3.0). Low HL was also associated with not feeling like a partner (28.8% vs. 17.1%; AOR 2.0; 95% CI 1.4-3.0), preference for relying on the doctor's knowledge (68.9% vs. 52.2%; AOR 1.7; 95% CI 1.2-2.4), and preference for leaving decisions up to the doctor (57.7% vs. 33.3%; AOR 2.2; 95% CI 1.6-3.1).
Conclusions: Addressing issues of parent HL may be helpful in ameliorating barriers to care and promoting provider-parent partnership in care.
Copyright Â© 2012 Academic Pediatric Association. Published by Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.