ISSN: 1935-1232 (P)

ISSN: 1941-2010 (E)



Relationship between Health Literacy and Treatment Burden among Patients with Multi-Morbidity
Author(s): Samia Ali El-Nagar*, Sabah E.Nady, Elham S.Elzyen and Tawheda Mohamed Khalefa El-Saidy

Background: Multi-morbidity is a public health concern which increases with age. Patients who fail to realize the health information provided by health care professionals besides the significance of their treatment can face a higher treatment burden.

Aim of the study: The study aim was to examine the relationship between health literacy and treatment burden among patients with multi-morbidity. Design: A descriptive correlational research design was used.

Setting: The study was carried out in outpatient clinics at Shebin El-Kom university hospital and Menouf general hospital, Menoufia Governorate, Egypt. Subject: A purposive sample of 480 multi-morbidity patients aged ≥ 20 years was selected.

Tools of the study: A Structured Interview Questionnaire, Multi-morbidity Status Assessment, Disease Burden Morbidity Assessment, Multi-morbidity Treatment Burden Questionnaire, and Health Literacy Questionnaire were used.

Results: The most reported chronic conditions were hypertension (45.0%), arthritis (40.5%), stomach problems (37.5%), and chronic back pain (35.2%). Half of the patients suffered from a high degree of treatment burden, which was significantly higher (59.8%) among patients aged ≥ 60 years than patients aged between 20 to 59 years old (43.4%). Moreover, 61.9% of the patients had low health literacy, they had difficulty in understanding health information and 63.3% are unable to engage with healthcare providers. Health literacy score was negatively correlated with treatment burden score, disease burden score, number of chronic conditions, and age, besides positively linked with self-perceived health.

Recommendations: There is a need for developing and implementing strategies that concentrate on enhancing health literacy skills for multimorbidity patients to reduce the treatment burden for multiple chronic conditions.

Conclusion: Low health literacy and burden of treatment were significant health issues among the studied multi-morbidity patients. Multi-morbidity patients who cannot realize the health related information well and unable to communicate with healthcare professionals had a higher treatment burden.