Be Wise: A complementary and alternative medicine health literacy skill-building programme

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SAGE Publications


Background: Health literacy has been found to be the strongest predictor of health status; and without adequate health literacy, consumers may not understand/adequately evaluate the myriad of choices available. Older rural residents tend to use self-prescribed complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) therapies and glean information about these therapies primarily by word of mouth/media. Objectives: The purpose of this article is to describe the Be Wise health literacy skill building programme and the participants’ evaluation of the programme. Design: The programme involved four sessions delivered over 7 weeks at seniors’ centres in rural communities. Method: Data were collected initially (N = 127), at the end of the sessions (N = 67) and after 5 months (N = 52). Setting: Participants were primarily rural Caucasian women, mean age 76 years, and most had an associate/baccalaureate degree. Results: Questions were worded to ascertain satisfaction with the programme, usefulness of the information provided, willingness to recommend the programme, and the likelihood of using the programme. All scores were most favourable ranging from 3.35 to 4.41 on a 5-point scale. A question regarding the usefulness of the Be Wise programme in managing health received at mean score of 3.55 on a 5-point scale. Written comments on the questionnaires were overwhelmingly favourable. Conclusion: Delivering programmes to older adults in small rural communities has special challenges and rewards. Participants were enthusiastic about learning more about making informed health care choices. There is a compelling need for continued programme development and long-term outcomes evaluation.




Weinert, C., Nichols, E., & Shreffler-Grant, J. (2021). Be Wise: A complementary and alternative medicine health literacy skill-building programme. Health education journal, 80(3), 327-336.
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