Health skills - Health skills and own direction
In order to be able to contribute to one's own health and to be able to manage, people need knowledge: knowledge of their body, of diseases, causes of illness, ways to prevent illness, treatments and so on. People must be able to look up information and understand information. And that is just the beginning, because you will not become healthier from knowledge alone. They must be able to apply the knowledge to their own situation and make choices, follow instructions. The skills needed for this, the health skills, go beyond just understanding the step. They are also important for the steps of wanting (motivation), (practical and social skills), doing and continuing to do (see box Elements of health skills).
Elements of health skills
Need to understand the step:
- To be able to look up and understand information (about health, illness and care);
- Understand instructions;
- To be able to distinguish between main and minor issues: being able to determine what is most important in written or oral information;
- Place events in a chronological order.
For the step Wanting:
- Being able to make clear what your complaints are and what help you want (request for help);
- To be able to make conscious own choices based on collected information.
For the step Need:
- Can apply instructions.
Reading and writing are health skills. In other words: not being able to read and write well (low literacy) makes people less able to care. And that has consequences for health. People who do not have good health skills are less successful with their illness and with care and caregivers. They have more health problems and their contacts with caregivers are often difficult. They also have less direct control.