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The impact of health literacy environment on patient stress: a systematic review.


ABSTRACT: BACKGROUND:There exists little literature on situational health literacy - that is, how an individual's health literacy varies across different health literacy environments. However, one can consider the role of stress when examining the relationship between health situations and decision-making ability, and by proxy health literacy. The aim of this study was to assess the strength of the evidence on the relationship between health situations and patient stress, considered in the context of health professional perception, and determine what health situations act to influence patient stress. METHODS:A systematic review of English articles using PubMed, PsycINFO, CINAHL and Embase databases was conducted. Search terms focused on 'patient', 'stress', and 'health care situations'. Only peer-reviewed original research with data on patient stress in the context of a health facility environment was included. Studies were screened and critically appraised by both authors. Study elements for extraction were defined by RO and extracted by JY. RESULTS:Twenty-four studies were included for narrative synthesis. Patients in Intensive Care Units were more stressed about factors relating to their physical discomfort, with some agreement from health care professionals. Parents of children in Intensive Care Units were more concerned with stressors relating to their child's appearance and behaviour, and alteration in their parental role. Few studies examined health settings other than Intensive Care Units, and those that did varied greatly in terms of study design and population characteristics, lacking generalisability. CONCLUSIONS:Overall, the findings of what patients find most stressful in Intensive Care Units can guide health care professionals practicing best practice care. However, the evidence on how patient stress is influenced by non-Intensive Care Unit health care settings is weak. Further research is needed to enhance current understanding of the interaction between patient stress and health care environments in both hospital and primary care settings.

SUBMITTER: Yeh J 

PROVIDER: S-EPMC7245697 | BioStudies | 2020-01-01

REPOSITORIES: biostudies

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