An investigation of healthcare utilization and its association with levels of health literacy in individuals with chronic pain

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Title: An investigation of healthcare utilization and its association with levels of health literacy in individuals with chronic pain
Authors: Mackey, LauraBlake, CatherineSquiers, LindaCasey, Maire-BridFullen, Brona al.
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Date: Jun-2019
Online since: 2020-05-29T10:38:06Z
Abstract: Objective: Chronic pain patients are frequent and recurrent users of health services, which may have an impact on levels of health literacy (HL). Therefore, the aim of the present study was to investigate associations between healthcare utilization and varying levels of HL in individuals with and without chronic pain. Methods: A cross-sectional questionnaire was distributed in three pain clinics in Dublin, Ireland, comprising a demographic section, a validated HL assessment tool (Newest Vital Sign) and self-reported healthcare utilization in the previous year (i.e., general practitioner [GP] visits, accident and emergency room attendance, hospital services and allied health services). Patients with chronic pain, and a control group (no pain) were recruited. Results: Overall, 262 participants were recruited: those with chronic pain (n = 131) and controls (n = 131). Those in the chronic pain group were more likely to be female (p = 0.004), have less education (p = 0.01), be unable to work (p < 0.001), have a lower monthly income (p = 0.001), be more likely to have a medical card (i.e., free access to public health services) (p = 0.002) and have a greater number of comorbidities (p < 0.0001). Although bivariate analyses demonstrated increased healthcare utilization in chronic pain patients (i.e., GP visits, hospital services and allied therapies; p < 0.05), there was no difference in HL levels between groups in multivariate analysis (chronic pain: 54%, n = 71; control group 49%, n = 64; p = 0.39). Higher educational attainment, greater levels of income and being younger remained independently associated with higher levels of HL. Conclusions: Further research is needed to understand the nature of how HL is acquired, both from individual and organizational perspectives. Once this has been established, it may facilitate the development or advancement of current HL-sensitive management strategies.
metadata.dc.description.othersponsorship: The Meath Foundation
Type of material: Journal Article
Publisher: Wiley
Journal: Musculoskeletal Care
Volume: 17
Issue: 2
Start page: 174
End page: 182
Copyright (published version): 2019 Wiley
Keywords: Chronic painHealth literacyHealthcare utilizationSelf-management
DOI: 10.1002/msc.1386
Language: en
Status of Item: Peer reviewed
Appears in Collections:Public Health, Physiotherapy and Sports Science Research Collection

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