Scoping review of the preferences of older adults for patient education materials

Publication Name

Patient Education and Counseling


Objective: To provide an overview of studies that describe the preferred mode and format of delivery of patient education materials to older adults. Methods: A scoping review was used to identify relevant literature published between January 2010 and June 2021, with specific attention given to studies conducted in high income countries with similar health systems. Results: A total of 3245 titles were identified, and 20 met the inclusion criteria and were included in this scoping review. Older adults preferred written information that could be accessed via health professionals or downloaded online. Other key features were identified including logical layout, signposted information, larger text size, labelled visual aids, and use of images appropriate and relevant to the target group were preferred. Audio visual resources were also considered valuable when well designed. Formats for patient education such as apps, group classes and online courses were less popular with older adults. Conclusions: Patient education materials for older adults should be carefully designed, with attention to layout and content. Older adults indicated a preference for hard copy handouts or in a format that can be downloaded. Practice Implications: Regular engagement with older consumers about their preferences is important as technology for delivery of patient education materials evolve. Key features for specific attention during the design process include a logical layout (tested with consumers), signposted information, text size, labelled visual aids and appropriate images. The perspectives of other key groups of older adults such as those from minority populations or other disadvantaged groups are largely unexplored.

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