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Health Literacy and Beliefs about medicines in an Obstetric Population in Cork University Maternity Hospital (CUMH)

Health Literacy and Beliefs about medicines in an Obstetric Population in Cork University Maternity Hospital (CUMH)

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An essay for the 2012 Undergraduate Awards Competition by Lydia Duggan. Originally submitted for Pharmacy at University College Cork, with lecturer Dr Laura Sahm in the category of Medical Sciences
An essay for the 2012 Undergraduate Awards Competition by Lydia Duggan. Originally submitted for Pharmacy at University College Cork, with lecturer Dr Laura Sahm in the category of Medical Sciences

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Published by: Undergraduate Awards on Aug 31, 2012
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial

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10/27/2013

 
 Title of Paper:
Health literacy and beliefs about medicines in anobstetric population at Cork University Maternity Hospital(CUMH)
Submitted by:
Lydia Duggan, 108729115
 Supervisor:
Dr. L Sahm
 Number of words in Abstract:
242
Number of words in Introduction:
468
 Number of words in Discussion:
1,156
 Overall Word Count:
3,390
 Number of References:
40
 
The results contained herein are confidential and remain theproperty of University College CorkThe work described, except where duly acknowledged, wascarried out by me entirely.
Signed:
Lydia Duggan 
 
Date:
5
th
February 2012
 
Health literacy and beliefs about medicines in anobstetric population at Cork University MaternityHospital (CUMH)
Abstract
Aims
The goal of this project was to assess the impact of demographic factors on both healthliteracy and medication beliefs and to determine the relationship between health literacy andbeliefs about medicines
Methods
A randomised survey was carried out at Cork University Maternity Hospital (CUMH)antenatal clinic. Health literacy was measured using the Rapid Estimate of Adult Literacy inMedicine (REALM) and the general section of the Beliefs about Medicines Questionnaire(BMQ) was used to assess medication views.
Results
The total sample size was 404. 84.65% (n=342) had adequate health literacy and theremaining 15.35% (n=62) showed marginal health literacy. Degree and postgraduatestudents were significantly more health literate than other groups as were the 31-35 and 36-40groups (p<0.05). Professionals, managerial/technical and health professionals hadsignificantly higher REALM scores.BMQ scores showed that the >40 group and the 31-35 group were significantly more positiveabout certain statements. Post leaving cert, degree and postgraduate groups had significantlymore positive views about medicines than secondary, junior and leaving cert groups.Healthcare professionals were significantly more positive about medicines than other groups.In five of the BMQ statements a significant link was found between marginal health literacyand negative views about medicines.
 
Conclusions
There is a significant association between the demographic factors of age, educationalattainment and employment category on both health literacy and medication beliefs.Marginal health literacy is significantly associated with a more negative perception of medicines and medical professionals.
Introduction
 
The health choices made by women during pregnancy have far reaching consequences forboth mother and child. Beliefs about medicines and medical practitioners and health literacyplay a great part in influencing medical decisions[1]. While there have been numerousstudies dealing with health literacy and medication beliefs in general populations, researchinto obstetric populations has thus far been limited[2, 3]. The focus of previous obstetricresearch has been on pregnant
women‟s perceptions about medicines and how this affects
health choices. Several studies have shown that there is a misconception amongst pregnantwomen about the dangers of medicine use during pregnancy[2, 4-6]. This negative belief about medicines has led to many women choosing natural remedies over conventionaltreatments during their pregnancy[7]. A study by Nordeng et al showed that nearly sevenout of ten women reported that they had chosen not to use a drug because they feared it wasnot safe[3]. Another study showed that young age and low educational attainment wassignificantly associated with the decision not to take folic acid during pregnancy[8].Ultimately improved clinician-patient communication has been shown to allay these fearsabout medicines to the extent that it can even prevent unnecessary pregnancy terminations[5, 9].Health literacy is the degree to which individuals can obtain, process, and understand theinformation and services necessary to make appropriate decisions involving their health[10].Previous studies have shown that socio-demographic factors such as race[11-13]andeducation[13]all impact on health literacy levels. Limited health literacy is associated withpoor health outcomes with patients showing inadequate comprehension of medicalinstructions and dissatisfaction with communication from medical professionals[14-17].

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