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Parents’ Health Literacy and Emergency Room Visits

Parents’ health literacy (the ability to obtain, process and understand the information needed to make appropriate decision about their health) can impact the health of their children. Research shows that low health literacy in parents is associated with a higher number of visits to the Emergency Department by their children. Roughly one in three parents of children coming to the Emergency Department are thought to have low health literacy. Conditions such as asthma, which may be better treated by home visits, can result instead to emergency visits without parents having the right treatment information.

In addition to educating patients and families about their health and equipping them with the information they need to make informed decisions, healthcare providers and all those in the healthcare system must be educated about the effects of health literacy and given the tools they need to improve parents’ health literacy. Follow up phone calls, visits, and education about symptoms can help reduce the non-urgent need of emergency care.

The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends pediatricians assess parents’ health literacy levels during well child visits in a new study: Parent Health Literacy, Depression, and Risk for Pediatric Injury, in the July 2016 issue of Pediatrics. It is estimated that 80 million adults in the U.S. have low health literacy, and it’s now being studied as a variable in children’s health as well.

The Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality’s Health Literacy Universal Precautions Toolkit for primary care providers offers ways to reduce the complexities of healthcare and increase patient understanding and enhance support for patients and families.

Additional References:

  1. Morrison, Andrea K. et al. “The Relationship Between Parent Health Literacy and Pediatric Emergency Department Utilization: A Systematic Review.” Academic pediatrics 13.5 (2013): 10.1016/j.acap.2013.03.001. PMC.
  2. Herman, A. et al. “Impact of a health literacy intervention on pediatric emergency department use.” Pediatric Emergency Care 25.7 (2009): doi: 10.1097/PEC.0b013e3181ab78c7.
  3. MedlinePlus: Health Literacy, Talking With Your Doctor, Hospitals as Health Educators.

National Recovery Month



Recovery Month, sponsored each September by the U.S. Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), is recognized to increase the awareness and understanding of substance use disorders and also to celebrate those in recovery. SAMHSA’s website provides resources for treatment and recovery, personal stories, and a treatment locator. SAMHSA defines recovery — from mental health disorders and from substance use disorders — as “a process of change through which individuals improve their health and wellness, live a self-directed life, and strive to reach their full potential.” SAMHSA’s Ten Guiding Principles of Recovery are Hope, Person-driven, Many Pathways, Holistic approach, Peer Support, Relational and Social Supports, Culture based and influenced, Addressing Trauma, Strengths and Responsibilities, and Respect.

Additional resources:

  • See the Twitter presence of Recovery Month for announcements, to connect with others who are interested, and to attend chats. The Recovery Youtube channel features personal stories of recovery.
  • The American Society of Addiction Medicine defines addiction as a chronic brain disease in which a person regularly participates in behavior, such as drug-taking or gambling, despite the negative consequences. Addictions changes how the brain works, and may keep getting worse without treatment. Patient and healthcare provider resources are offered on their website.
  • Harm Reduction: The Drug Policy Alliance promotes the harm reduction approach as a public health philosophy and intervention which reduces arm associated with drug use. A basic tenet of harm reduction is that there has never been, and never will be, a drug-free society. Read more about harm reduction.
  • Medication-Assisted Treatment: See SAMHSA’s webpage about Medication- Assisted Treatment, or MAT, for information including including opioid treatment programs and combining behavioral therapy and medications to treat substance use disorders.
  • The National Library of Medicine’s MedlinePlus features patient and family information about Substance Use Disorders, Drugs and Young People, Prescription Drug Abuse, and more.

National Parks: Nature and Health Benefits

Olympic National Park

Olympic National Park

Today the National Park Service is celebrating its 100th birthday. What a wonderful milestone in our country’s history. Here in the Pacific Northwest we have some of the most beautiful national parks, forests, and preserves. Even here in Seattle, whenever I get a peek at Mt. Rainier my eyes become glued to the view, I hold my breath in awe, I start feeling energized and happier. And I also notice the people around me appear to have a similar reaction. There’s something about seeing that mountain that just puts me in a better mood.  I am not alone in this. A quick search on PubMed results in several research papers that discuss the many health benefits of being outdoors in nature.
Such health benefits may include:

  • increase in memory and attention spans
  • stress reduction
  • sharpening the senses
  • elevates moods
  • sense of well-being
  • decrease risk of developing poor vision
  • increase creative problem solving
  • improve immune system

Not everyone has a mountain view but whether it is a view of a sunset, a desert, a field of grain, a river, a garden- taking time to get outside and enjoy the view. It’s good for both the mind and the body!

MedlinePlus and other NLM resources have information and tools to help you exercise and be healthy:

Start today and make a point of going outside and consider making plans to visit one of the National Parks and start enjoying the health benefits!

National Library of Medicine Announces 2016 Association of Health Care Journalists–NLM Journalism Fellows

NLM announced the 2016 Association of Health Care Journalists (AHCJ)-National Library of Medicine (NLM) Fellows class featuring seven reporters and editors representing diverse media backgrounds.

The 2016 AHCJ-NLM Fellows are:

  • Rachel Bluth (@RachelHBluth), reporter, Kaiser Health News
  • Shannon Firth (@shannonfirth), Washington reporter, MedPage Today
  • Julio Ochoa (@julioochoa), editor, WUSF-Health News Florida
  • David Wahlberg (@davidkwahlberg), health/medical reporter, Wisconsin State Journal
  • Leigh Ann Winick (@LeighAnnWinick), medical producer, CBS News
  • Paula Andalo (@paula_andalo), senior managing editor, HolaDoctor
  • Laura Beil (@LJBeil), independent journalist, Dallas

Now in its eighth year, the program brings journalists selected by AHCJ to NLM for four days of training to better use some of NLM’s health information resources, such as PubMed, PubMed Health, Genetics Home Reference,TOXMAP,, and MedlinePlus. This year’s Fellows class will be at NLM Sept. 26-30.

“The key to good health is getting the very best health information,” said NLM Director Patricia Flatley Brennan, RN, PhD. “Certainly health care journalists play a key role in informing the public about health and medicine. I’m gratified that this talented group will get an in-depth look at NLM information services, to help them do their important work more effectively.”

The 2016 AHCJ-NLM Fellows also will receive briefings about health care issues, such as a health disparities research update, as well as consumer health resources provided by the National Cancer Institute. For the third year, the Fellows will meet with the Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute, to learn more about comparative clinical effectiveness research. Read more »

Free Online CE Classes: PubMed for Librarians – registration is open

If your institution or organization includes programs in the health sciences, involves the health of the public, or works with biomedical researchers, most likely PubMed is a resource often used or should be considered for their work. Unfamiliar with PubMed or want a refresher course so you can better serve your colleagues? Consider taking one or all of the classes offered by our National Training Center.

The National Network of Libraries of Medicine Training Office (NTO) is offering three free online PubMed CE classes in September in a series called PubMed for Librarians.

  1. Introduction to PubMed: September 7, 2016 (9:00am Pacific Time)
  1. MeSH: September 14, 2016 (9:00am Pacific Time)
  1. Automatic Term Mapping: September 21, 2016 (9:00am Pacific Time)

Read a description for all three classes and find the link to the registration page here:

PubMed is a free resource that is developed and maintained by the National Center for Biotechnology Information (NCBI), at the U.S. National Library of Medicine (NLM), located at the National Institutes of Health (NIH). PubMed includes free access to MEDLINE, the NLM database of indexed citations and abstracts to medical, nursing, dental, veterinary, health care, and preclinical sciences journal articles as well as additional selected life sciences journals not in MEDLINE.

New in PMC: New Search Result Filters and Updated Reference List Display

As of August 2016, PMC is home to four million articles! To make this wealth of full-text content easier to navigate, PMC has rolled out a few updates:

Search Result Filters
On all search results pages, you will now see filters (similar to PubMed’s filters) on the left-hand side that allow you to filter your results by article attributes, publication date, research funder, and search fields. These filters replace the Limits page and allow you to more readily:

Read more »