Inadequate functional health literacy mars post-op recovery

April 27, 2018

(HealthDay)—For patients undergoing day surgery, inadequate functional health literacy (FHL) is associated with poorer postoperative recovery and lower health-related quality of life, according to a study published online April 25 in JAMA Surgery.

Maria Hälleberg Nyman, Ph.D., from Örebro University in Sweden, and colleagues conducted an observational study to describe FHL levels in patients in Sweden undergoing day surgery. The correlation between FHL and health care contacts, of recovery (SwQoR), and health-related quality of life was assessed.

Of the 704 patients, 60.7, 31.7, and 7.7 percent reported sufficient, problematic, and inadequate FHL, respectively. The researchers found that the inadequate and problematic FHL groups had a global score of SwQoR that indicated poor recovery (37.4 and 22.9, respectively). The difference in the global score of SwQoR between inadequate and sufficient FHL (37.4 and 17.7) was statistically significant. Compared to patients with sufficient FHL, patients with inadequate or problematic FHL had a lower health-related quality of life in terms of EuroQoL-visual analog scale scores, physical function, bodily pain, vitality, social functioning, mental health, and physical component summary. The FHL groups did not differ in terms of care contacts.

"Health literacy is a relevant factor to consider for optimizing the postoperative recovery in undergoing day surgery," the authors write.

One author disclosed financial ties to RAPP-AB.

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