Health literacy in an Israeli elderly population

Michal Hochhauser*, Michael Brusovansky, Maria Sirotin, Katerina Bronfman

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: Health literacy is important for patients' comprehension of the health and medical messages conveyed to them and their meaning for them so that they can better manage their health. The aim of the study was to examine the level of health literacy within the elderly population. The hypothesis was that health literacy would be inadequate, and related to demographic variables. Method: Sixty men and women over the age of 65 who volunteered to participate in the study completed a 13-item health literacy questionnaire. Results: Overall, the level of health literacy among the participants was mostly inadequate. They reported difficulty in reading medical material in Hebrew and understanding the doctor, thus requiring assistance (20%); difficulty in reading medical documents, completing medical forms and understanding medical terms; difficulty in reading the leaflet attached to medications (33%), test results (40%) and medical information written in English (66%) and difficulty searching the internet for information (53.3%). The level of health literacy was associated with education while the best profile for adequate health literacy was for those who spoke Hebrew and completed secondary education. Conclusions: Medical teams have an obligation to be alert and attentive to the level of health literacy of elderly patients and to modify communication and information to an accommodating degree, so that elderly patients can better manage their health.

Original languageEnglish
Article number61
JournalIsrael Journal of Health Policy Research
Issue number1
StatePublished - 10 Jul 2019
Externally publishedYes


  • Comprehension
  • Education status
  • Elderly
  • Health literacy
  • Medical information


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