: The concept of health literacy and patient
comprehension is important, especially in the area of patient
consent for surgical procedures. This extends to the pre-
admissions anaesthetic consultation where poor patient health
literacy can have an impact on the patient’s comprehension of
: This exploratory study aims to investigate the
level of health literacy and comprehension in a population of
patients attending a pre-admissions anaesthetic clinic.
cross-sectional study design was used to survey adult participants
(≥18yrs old) attending a regional based pre-anaesthetics clinic.
Information gathered as part of the survey included demographic
information, health literacy scores (via a previously validated
tool), and questions pertaining to the comprehension of their
: In total, 51 patients participated in the
study. Patients were divided into two subgroups (inadequate/
marginal vs. adequate), depending on their screened level of health
literacy. Those with inadequate/marginal health literacy were
significantly more at risk of having inadequate comprehension
than those with adequate health literacy (p = 0.01). There was no
statistically significant difference between health literacy levels
and a variety of demographic indicators, including education level
and employment status.
: Patients with inadequate
or marginal screened health literacy scores were less likely to
comprehend the information provided to them as part of their
pre-admissions consultation. These results suggest that screening
patients for their health literacy levels may be advantageous, in
that information provided can be tailored to their individual needs.
Further research is however required.