The Importance of Health Literacy for Medical Social Workers

Proceedings of The 2nd International Conference on Research in Social Sciences

Year: 2019


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The Importance of Health Literacy for Medical Social Workers

Filiz Yildirim and Selim Ürgün



In order for the patients to benefit from treatment; informing the health team about patient and his/her family, solving psychological problems, stimulating social support mechanisms to ensure their social functionality, strengthening their harmony with their environment are amongst the roles which medical social workers are to undertake. The competencies of medial social workers in this field are closely related to their levels of health literacy so as to perform these roles. Because the skills of medial social workers to obtain, understand, interpret and use health-related information in micro, mezzo and macro level interventions are important measures of health literacy level. A medical social worker with a low level of health literacy can advise patients and their relatives within his/her (informal) health knowledge.  However, this health information which has not been acquired by formal education carries the risk of harm to the patients. This may lead to the weakening the controls of the patient over their health, thus the weakening of their adaptation skills. From this point of view, the objective of current review study is to explain the importance of health literacy levels of medical social workers for medical social work practices on the basis of information, skills and value of social work.

Keywords: ethics; health information; skills, social services; values.