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Open AccessArticle

Health Literacy among Non-Familial Caregivers of Older Adults: A Study Conducted in Tuscany (Italy)

1
Department of Health Sciences, University of Florence, Viale GB Morgagni 48, 50134 Florence, Italy
2
School of Specialization in Hygiene and Preventive Medicine, University of Florence, Viale GB Morgagni 48, 50134 Florence, Italy
3
AUSL Toscana Centro, Florence, Piazza Santa Maria Nuova 1, 50122 Florence, Italy
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2019, 16(19), 3771; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph16193771
Received: 26 June 2019 / Revised: 1 October 2019 / Accepted: 2 October 2019 / Published: 8 October 2019
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Home Care Services for Older Adults)
Many older adults who live at home depend on a caregiver. When familial support cannot provide the necessary care, paid caregivers are frequently hired. Health literacy (HL) is the knowledge and competence required of people to meet the complex demands of health in modern society. The aim of this study is to assess the HL level of paid non-familial caregivers who were enrolled through two different sources: from the homes of assisted people in two Tuscan health districts (first sample) and during job interviews in a home care agency operating in Florence (second sample). The two different recruitment contexts allow us to provide a broader view of the phenomenon, presenting a picture of the HL level of those who are already working and those who are looking for a new job in this field. One-on-one face-to-face interviews, which include the administration of the Newest Vital Sign (NVS) to measure HL, were conducted. Recruitment resulted in 84 caregivers in the first sample and 68 in the second sample. In the first sample, the mean age was 51.2 ± 9 years; 94% of the participants were women. A high likelihood or likelihood of inadequate HL (i.e., a low level of HL) was found in 73.8% of cases. In the second sample, the mean age was 43.7 ± 11.5 years; 83.8% of the participants were women, and 80.9% had a low level of HL. In both samples, HL was statistically associated with the level of understanding of the Italian language. In conclusion, inadequate HL is an under-recognized problem among non-familial caregivers. Educational programs that aim to increase HL skills could be an effective approach to improving the qualification of informal healthcare professionals. View Full-Text
Keywords: health literacy; non-familial caregiver; older adults; care dependency; Newest Vital Sign health literacy; non-familial caregiver; older adults; care dependency; Newest Vital Sign
MDPI and ACS Style

Bonaccorsi, G.; Pieralli, F.; Innocenti, M.; Milani, C.; Del Riccio, M.; Donzellini, M.; Baggiani, L.; Lorini, C. Health Literacy among Non-Familial Caregivers of Older Adults: A Study Conducted in Tuscany (Italy). Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2019, 16, 3771.

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