CILIPS Chartered Institute of Library and Information Professionals in Scotland
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Case Study – How health literacy tools and techniques can be applied to Social Care choices

Case Study provided by Janet Crozier, Knowledge Manager, NHS Scotland

Project Outline:

The Social Care (Self-directed Support) Scotland Act was passed in 2014. The Act has placed a requirement on Local Authorities to offer people who need care support more choice and control of their care. Whilst Self-directed Support provides great opportunities for people to create support options that fit in with the way they want to live their lives, for the practitioner it represents a huge culture change and a different way of working as they now need to explain to people that they have four possible options for their care. Recent research has indicated that 75% of service users continued to use council services despite having other care options available to them and 34% of respondents did not feel they understood the options well enough to make an informed choice. 1
Health literacy is about people having enough knowledge, understanding, skills and confidence to use health information, to be active partners in their care, and to navigate health and social care systems.

The research findings show that people need health literacy skills when making care support decisions. To explore this, we held a focus group session with health literacy colleagues, social care practitioners and third sector care providers to explore how health literacy tools and techniques such as “Teachback” and “Chunk and Check” can be used by practitioners to explain care options.

We took the learning from this group and worked with our colleagues at the Health Literacy Place, Renfrewshire HSCP and East Renfrewshire Voluntary Action Group to produce a booklet:
Making it Easy to understand Social Care Funded Support.

The booklet aims to support anyone who is discussing self-directed support options with people, by giving them examples and tools to aid their conversations around choices.
The booklet has been widely distributed to Local Authorities and third sector care providers. These are some of the comments we have received:


“This is very good. I particularly like the examples of what people have been able to do. This makes it much easier for people to understand what self-directed support is and makes it more realistic.” Liz Smith, NHS Lothian

“An informative leaflet, will print out and have on our information stands with our own SDS information”.
Evelyn Gilchrist, Ayrshire Independent Living

“I will apply “Teach Back” as a process in my conversation when working with individuals”
Rosalina Rowan, East Renfrewshire SDS Forum



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