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Rural Health Information Hub

Purchase District Health Department

  • Program Representative Interviewed: Kaylene Cornell, Health Education Coordinator
  • Location: Paducah, Kentucky
  • Program Overview: The Purchase District Health Department (PDHD) integrates health literacy components in all of their health programs and when communicating health information within the community. Each program strives to use evidence-based approaches. For example, PDHD uses standardized messaging approved by the state through the Kentucky Heart Disease and Stroke Prevention Task Force for all blood pressure educational encounters.

    PDHD uses focus groups to test clinic handout materials for readability. The community health worker (CHW) program increases health literacy for clients to make sure they understand discharge orders, chronic disease risks, their medication regimen, and when to seek appropriate healthcare services. The project relies on CHWs to serve clients who were recently discharged from inpatient hospital settings. The CHWs help to navigate discharge paperwork and clinic appointment schedules as well as assist in filling out applications for other social services.

    The CHWs follow several general steps when serving patients:

    • Ask patients to interpret discharge papers and relay back the information to the CHW.
    • Ask patients to state when their next follow-up appointments are.
    • During the follow-up visit, ask if they still have the discharge papers on hand.
    • Ask patients to demonstrate how to use specific medical devices like inhalers or nebulizers.
    • Use multiple surveys, assessments, and questionnaires to address any barriers related to social determinants of health.

    The CHWs use medication inventories to assess medication adherence and discuss barriers and facilitators. Clients are asked to complete surveys on self-advocacy and self-efficacy, including questions that address feelings toward managing chronic or acute conditions, fears related to their condition and their management of it, plans for when they run out of medication, educational goals, and personal health goals. CHWs ensure that patients establish goals that are actionable and realistic. They also have conversations with patients to assess confidence levels to achieve their goals and to see whether they are following discharge instructions.

Models represented by this program: