What methods do rural providers emply to educate pateints and provide care to patients with suspected low health literacy: A phenomenological approach

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Southern New Hampshire University
This phenomenological approach aims to learn from the experiences of rural Licensed Independent Providers as they deliver chronic disease education and support to patients with suspected low health literacy. The study asks the question: How do rural providers who have fewer resources available to them typically aid patients with low health literacy in chronic disease self-management through authentic relationships, problem-solving and transpersonal practices? This study interviewed six rural New England Providers (4 physicians, a nurse practitioner and a physician assistant) to learn their lived experiences in caring for these patients. The providers were interviewed and transcripts were analyzed to identify significant statements relevant to their interactions with patients having chronic disease and suspected low health literacy. The significant statements were reduced to five themes and three major findings. The findings indicated that despite a lack or minimal training in health literacy, providers assessed patient needs and provided appropriate education and support; the relationship between the provider and the patient was a catalyst to improve the health of the patient; and Watson’s Theory of Caring was interwoven in the interactions between the patient and provider. The providers described the unique challenges present in rural healthcare, the trust relationship that builds over time between patient and providers and the techniques they utilize to mitigate the effects of low health literacy. (Author abstract)