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journal of clinical nursing
PublisherBlackwell Publishing Ltd
Summary• This paper is primarily concerned with the use of readability formulas to determine the reading ease of printed education materials (PEMs) given to ostomy patients. Whilst the particular clinical focus is stoma care nursing, the content is relevant to all nurses who use printed text to inform their patients. PEMs have significant advantages in conveying information compared with verbal presentations alone. • Methods to calculate readability using the Flesch, FOG and SMOG readability formulas are described. Presentation factors that affect readability are briefly reviewed, including use of ‘white space’, font size and paper colour. The problem of functional illiteracy and the need for indirect assessment of patient literacy are discussed. • PEMs in use are often found to be difficult to read. Stress is identified as a potential factor in further reducing a patient's ability to deal with information. • Three commercially available PEMs are evaluated for ease of reading and their score on the FOG index indicates that only about 40% of the UK population would understand them. • Nurses are advised to evaluate the readability of their PEMs and to assess indirectly the literacy of their patients, so that they can more sensitively match PEMs to patient ability and need.
Subject(s)computer science , economic growth , economics , functional illiteracy , grade level , health care , health literacy , human–computer interaction , law , literacy , mathematics education , medical education , medicine , multimedia , nursing , pedagogy , political science , programming language , psychology , readability , reading (process) , usability
SCImago Journal Rank0.94
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