Date of Graduation


Document Type


Degree Name

Bachelor of Science

Degree Level



Health, Human Performance and Recreation


Washington, Tyrone

Committee Member/Reader

Hadden, Kristie

Committee Member/Second Reader

Sullivan, Amanda

Committee Member/Third Reader

McDermott, Brendon


Background: Health Literacy is a barrier to self-care; patients often lack the skills to understand complicated instructions that deal with medications, wound care, follow up schedules, and preventative care. Patients who undergo hip and knee replacements are often older adults, a population that normally struggles with various aspects of health literacy. Patient education materials are a common means of communicating with these individuals. However, if the patient does not understand the materials that they are given, they are more likely to experience negative side effects after their operation. Purpose: The purpose of this study is to compare the health literacy levels of patients to the readability of the materials in a preoperative “Joint Academy” education class for hip and knee replacement patients. An additional purpose is to see if there is a difference in health literacy levels between “health coaches” and the patients themselves. Methodology: A convenience sample of 26 patients and health coaches enrolled at the UAMS Joint Academy classes were recruited and consented by a trained research assistant. Patients and coaches scheduled for either hip or knee replacements will be eligible for inclusion. Once consented, the individuals will be asked a series of demographic questions. The research assistant will then administer a health literacy aptitude test to the patient or coach. Results: 18 of the individuals tested had adequate health literacy scores to understand the materials presented in the Joint Academy classes. 8 individuals were deemed as having inadequate health literacy levels to understand the classes. Patients with low health literacy scores were more likely to choose a coach with adequate health literacy scores than patients with adequate health literacy scores. Discussion: Patients with inadequate health literacy may choose coaches with adequate health literacy to compensate for skills that they lack. Further research needs to be conducted to determine if this generalizes to other clinical settings. When patients with inadequate health literacy have coaches with higher skill levels, those coaches can help patients to better understand important health information that they may not comprehend on their own. When patients understand surgery information better, poor surgical outcomes related to patient understanding can be avoided.


Health Literacy, Health Administration, Medicine