Publication Date

Summer 2016

Document Type

Scholarly Project


Medicine and Health Sciences | Nursing | Public Health and Community Nursing


Health literacy is a matter of grave concern in health care today. Defined as more than the ability to read and write, it involves obtaining, processing, and understanding health information. Yet it is a concept often misunderstood and overlooked in the environment of professional care. Specifically, low health literacy in the setting of chronic disease has proven to be a challenging and costly phenomena. Given the high prevalence of chronic disease, there is a pressing need for health care providers to acknowledge this subject matter in care delivery. This integrative review provides a synthesis of published evidence identifying and clarifying the need for health care providers to address and support low health literacy in the setting of chronic disease via use of health literacy assessments. Recommendations for improved awareness among health care providers were devised as a result of this review. Analysis of the literature further supports the need to create a practice standard for the care continuum. The review lays the foundation to create change in chronic care delivery. Building upon nursing science, informing research, and facilitating policy initiatives, this review will serve as a call to action for health care providers.