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Reprinted with permission of AJAN
Objective: To provide context information about the currently available health literacy screening instruments that may be applicable to adults with cardiovascular disease and their importance to the nursing profession.Primary argument: Cardiovascular disease is a major health concern in Australia. Most cardiovascular diseases can be prevented and managed by reducing the cardiovascular risk factors. However healthcare professions, including nurses, may overestimate the health literacy skills of adults, and result in ineffective communication and misunderstanding. Adults with inadequate health literacy skills are often less compliant with their prescribed preventive treatments. As such an accurate health literacy assessment would not only promote therapeutic communication and the relationships between nurses and adults but it would also improve the compliance of secondary preventive treatment and the overall health outcomes. So this leads to the question, what health literacy screening instruments are available to measure the health literacy skills of adults with cardiovascular disease?Conclusion: A review of primary research dated from 2005 to 2014 indicated the derivative versions of TOFHLA and REALM are the two main instruments used to measure the health literacy skills of adults with cardiovascular disease. Accurate health literacy measures can assist nurses to develop strategies to improve the overall health outcomes of adults with complex needs and inadequate health literacy skills. As nurses comprise a substantial proportion of the healthcare workforce, they have the potential to make changes in the healthcare system and improve the quality of health education provided to this population group.