A cross-sectional comparison of health literacy deficits among patients with chronic kidney disease



Publication Details

Lambert, K., Mullan, J., Mansfield, K. & Lonergan, M. (2015). A cross-sectional comparison of health literacy deficits among patients with chronic kidney disease. Journal of Health Communication: international perspectives, 20 (Suppl. 2), 16-23.


Inadequate health literacy in people with chronic kidney disease (CKD) is associated with poorer disease management and greater complications. There are limited data on the health literacy deficits of people with CKD. The aim of this study was to investigate the types and extent of health literacy deficits in patients with CKD using the multidimensional Health Literacy Management Scale (HeLMS) and to identify associations between patient characteristics and the domains of health literacy measured by the HeLMS. Invitations to participate were sent to patients with CKD attending the renal unit of a regional Australian hospital. These patients included predialysis, dialysis (peritoneal and hemodialysis), and kidney transplant patients. This study identified that inadequate health literacy-especially in the domains relating to attending to one's health needs, understanding health information, social support, and socioeconomic factors-was common. Male gender and education level were significantly associated with inadequate health literacy. The type and extent of health literacy deficits varied among CKD groups, and transplant patients had more deficits than other CKD patient groups. This study provides useful information for health professionals treating patients with CKD, especially with regard to the design of self-management interventions and health information.

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