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LRDG seminar: 'I wouldn't do without her' - the role of literacy mediators in relation to patients' health literacy

Date: 26 February 2008 Time: 1.00 - 2.00 pm

Literacy Research Centre Seminar Series

'I wouldn't do without her' - the role of literacy mediators in relation to patients' health literacy

Uta Papen

In this presentation I discuss the role of literacy mediators in health care contexts. Drawing on findings from a qualitative study into the health-related reading and writing practices of 44 adults in the North-West of England, I suggest that literacy mediators play a key role in patients' ability to access and benefit from health care. Through their social networks, many patients regularly draw on literacy mediators. These mediators help patients with specific tasks such as reading a leaflet or filling out a form. But mediation, as I will show, extends beyond explaining specific terms and suggesting correct spellings. Literacy mediators often serve as intermediaries in the relationship between doctors and patients and they translate between different registers and medical discourses. Literacy mediation also includes much needed emotional support. While the presence of literacy mediators in health care contexts could be seen as a sign of the fragility of patients' health literacy, the accounts of mediation that I present here suggest that mediation is a resource supporting their health care.

Event website: http://www.literacy.lancs.ac.uk

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Who can attend: Anyone

 

Further information

Associated staff: Uta Papen

Organising departments and research centres: Institute for Advanced Studies, Lancaster Literacy Research Centre, Linguistics and English Language

Keywords: Literacies, Literacy, Literacy and health

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Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences
Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences
Lancaster University
Lancaster LA1 4YD
United Kingdom

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