Health Literacy Interventions for Immigrant Populations: A Systematic Review
Reference: Fernández-Gutiérrez, M., Bas-Sarmiento, P., Albar, M. J., Paloma-Castro, O., & Romero-Sánchez, J. M. (2017). Health literacy interventions for immigrant populations: a systematic review. International Nursing Review. doi: https://doi.org/10.1111/inr.12373
Abstract: Background: Health literacy is considered a social health determinant that influences improvement in health, patient empowerment and reduction in inequalities. There is a lack of health literacy interventions for vulnerable social groups (i.e. immigrants), and nurses have shown little familiarity with the concept.
Aim: This study aimed to identify and analyse whether interventions directed at immigrant populations improve the functional (basic reading, writing and arithmetic skills), interactive (social and cognitive skills) and critical (advanced cognitive and social skills in critically analyzing information and making informed decisions) dimensions of health literacy, taking into account the role played by nursing in these interventions.
Methods: A systematic review of four databases including PubMed, PsycINFO, the Cochrane Library and ERIC was conducted to identify relevant articles published between 2000 and 2015. Thirty-four articles met the inclusion criteria, and nine articles used a validated instrument.
Results: Few specific health literacy interventions for immigrant populations were found. The main findings of the studies showed positive changes in functional health literacy. However, the interventions were less effective in improving interactive and critical health literacy.
Limitations: Several of the findings of this review were based on studies that had their own limitations. The assessment of the articles was not blinded, and the review was restricted to articles written in Spanish and English.
Conclusions: The interventions studied were reported as being effective in improving health literacy in immigrants, particularly the functional aspects. Regarding the role played by nursing, this review observed little involvement.
Implications for Nursing and Health Policy: It is important for educational strategies to include health literacy dimensions. The concept of health literacy should be included as a Nursing Outcomes Classification and in its subsequent validation taxonomy. To promote community health, health literacy must be a prioritized objective of health management and policies.
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