Health literacy and rehab: The deviled eggs are in the details – Rehab Realities

Renee Kinder

Making deviled egg is the most nerve-wracking thing I do.

It sounds absurd, but the precision required in each step can cause me panic. 

A simple Google search will reveal people’s most common, and need I say rational, fears. 

Public speaking? Please, it’s like breathing.

Flying… so relaxing I am sound asleep as soon as I take my window seat.

Spiders? Yes, but who isn’t afraid of spiders?

However, I have not been able to find any list that includes making deviled eggs. 

The boiling stage is the most basic, but it can be complicated. Start with water at room temperature. Next, boil the water for 10 minutes. Then, immediately plunge into cold water. 

Miss any of these steps and then the next phase could be… well, pure misery. 

The peeling. It’s painful. So much room for error. I know that this step is the most important. The gentle tap, tap, tap… peel comes with such pressure. Will the shell crack open easily, revealing a shiny white treasure? That is the best feeling. 

Or will there be chips or shell cracks, texture imperfections, and sharp edges breaking off the surface? These could only be signs of poor planning and broken processes.

The peeling process is very similar to the layers of patient complex. rehabEvery day, professionals must take off all unnecessary items that are essential to providing high-quality patient care and supporting a healthy culture. 

Let’s begin with a definition of health literacy.

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services defines “health literacy” as: “the degree to which individuals have the capacity to obtain, process, and understand basic health information needed to make appropriate health decisions.”

Older adults may be more affected by health literacy issues than others. Adults 65+ have a lower level of health literacy than those under 65. Low health literacy in older adults is associated to poor physical functioning, pain, limitations in daily activities, and poor mental well-being.

Do you see what my point is about the layers? You are putting chips at risk if you miss a step in understanding this. 

The support of health literacy is more than simply sharing information. We must ensure that patients can access, process, then understand the information. 

The devil is in the details. 

Our patients are complex. To support complete health literacy, we provide information to our patients about their primary diagnosis as well as all medical complexities.

Oh the pressure… similar to the balance of making the perfect filling for those darn deviled eggs. Mixing yogurts with filling makes them delicious and light enough that they can be eaten through a pipette bag. Add a good amount of paprika to the mix and seal it up for guests.

There are many steps that must be taken to achieve excellence. Each step is equally important and essential to the final product.

The same dilemma is seen in supporting literacy of primary diagnosis, which, as we all know, only scratches the surface, and in the development of functional plans for care that support the full complexity of patients. 

Take, for example, statistics about Medicare population and multiple chronic diseases (aka MCCs).

 In 2010, approximately 21.4 million Medicare beneficiaries had at least two chronic conditions and accounted for the bulk of healthcare services provided under Medicare

  • MCCs account for approximately 66% of total healthcare spending in the United States
  • MCC is available to approximately three quarters of the Americans 65 years and older, and two thirds of Medicare beneficiaries.
  • MCC affects approximately one-fourth of Americans in all age groups, including one-fifth of children.
  • MCCs can also increase mortality risk and make it more difficult to function in the day.
  • These details are crucial if we want to make real breakthroughs in care. 

    Understanding their impact on function, helping our patients and their loved one to get beyond the primary diagnosis, and filling them with the delicate balance between knowledge and understanding. 

    Tap, tap and tap into our evidence base, integrating all complexities.

    You never know what treasures await you!

    Renee Kinder MS, CCC–SLP, RAC–CT is the Executive Vice President of Clinical Services Broad River Rehab and a 2019 APEX Award of Excellence winner in the Writing–Regular Departments & Columns category. Additionally, she serves as Gerontology Professional Development Manager for the American Speech Language Hearing Association’s (ASHA) gerontology special interest group, is a member of the University of Kentucky College of Medicine community faculty and is an advisor to the American Medical Association’s Current Procedural Terminology CPT® Editorial Panel. You can reach her at [email protected]

    The opinions expressed in McKnight’s Long-Term Care News guest submissions are the author’s and are not necessarily those of McKnight’s Long-Term Care News or its editors.

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