Objectives: The aim of this exploratory study was to assess the impact of caregiver health literacy (HL) on health care outcomes for their child with asthma.Methods: Caregiver dyads across two different healthcare delivery systems completed a battery of validated asthma outcome instruments, including the Newest Vital Sign™ as a measure of HL for the caregivers of children ages 7-18 y. Utilization history was obtained through the electronic medical record. Descriptive analysis with bivariate associations was conducted.Results: There was no direct relationship between HL and asthma outcomes in the 34 Hispanic and African American caregiver-child dyads. However, caregiver health literacy was significantly related to language (p = 0.02). African American English-speaking caregivers, seen in an urban emergency department, demonstrated adequate health literacy. Hispanic Spanish-speaking caregivers, seeking care in a mobile asthma van, showed limited health literacy. There was no significant association between caregivers' HL and routine asthma care visits when language and child age were controlled.Conclusions: Assessing patient factors can identify persons at risk who need additional support to negotiate the healthcare system when providing care for a child with asthma.
Keywords: Health literacy; asthma; caregivers; children; health care utilization.