The readability of printed education materials regarding hormone replacement therapy.

Journal of the American Academy of Nurse Practitioners

PubMedID: 10085857

Thomas LG, Corwin EJ. The readability of printed education materials regarding hormone replacement therapy. J Am Acad Nurse Pract. 1998;10(10):447-52.
In summary, HRT is a preventative medication that has been shown to decrease the incidence of heart disease and osteoporosis. It also has been shown to reduce symptoms of menopause and to increase the quality of life of users. Choosing to begin and maintain HRT is a personal and complicated decision. In evaluating the risks and benefits of HRT for any one woman, that woman and her primary care provider must individualize her past and current medical history, her family history, and her lifestyle. Together they must come to a decision that best represents the health, social needs, and desires of the patient. Individualizing HRT is difficult for a woman to do on her own, and it is time-consuming for a practitioner. Using PEMs to clarify the benefits and risks of HRT can be very beneficial to a woman considering such therapy. PEMs, however, are not a substitute for one-on-one education, and especially are not appropriate for teaching if their level of technical difficulty is beyond the scope of a patient's comprehension. This study suggests that many of the PEM's provided to women on the subject of HRT are failing to reach their target audiences because of their level of reading difficulty. A stated objective identified in the national initiative Healthy People 2000 (U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, 1997) is to "Increase to at least 90% the proportion of perimenopausal women who have been counseled about the benefits and risks of hormone replacement therapy for the prevention of osteoporosis." PEMs are one way to reach this objective, provided they are understandable to the clientele of focus.