Answered By: Ashley Guy, Nursing Librarian Last Updated: Nov 27, 2019 Views: 8
What to consider when creating your patient brochure
The American Academy of Family Physicians provides helpful information to know when you are creating a patient handout:
- The average American adult reads at an eighth-grade level. Patients, especially those with limited literacy, do not understand common medical terms, such as rectum, stool, or screening.
- Even highly literate patients prefer simple, easy to read handouts
- Most patients only retain two to four key points from a handout
When designing your handout, consider the following:
- Keep it short and concise
- Use wide margins and leave white space between sections
- Keep it simple by using short sentences and short paragraphs, consider using bulleted lists
- Make it personal by using "you" as if you were addressing a patient in-person
- Focus on what patients NEED to know, instead of what is nice for them to know
- Focus on what patients need to DO, instead of etiology, anatomy, etc.
- Be specific, such as "drink 8 ounces of water at least four times a day" instead of "Drunk plenty of fluids"
- Avoid medical jargon and terminology, unless necessary
- Be aware of language, customs, and values to create a culturally sensitive brochure
- Organize information using headings
- Use images, when appropriate, and within reason
The CDC offers a fantastic guide for creating easy-to-understand materials, which includes a checklist on page 29 (Appendix A): https://www.cdc.gov/healthliteracy/pdf/simply_put.pdf
How to create a patient brochure
There are many different tools you can use to make your brochure. A simple Google search for "brochure maker" or "brochure template" will bring up many results. Microsoft Word is the most common. Word has over a dozen brochure templates you can use to get you started: https://templates.office.com/en-us/Brochures
If you need help creating your brochure in Microsoft Word, you can find many tutorials in YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/results?search_query=microsoft+word+brochure
American Academy of Family Physicians. (n.d.). American Family Physician patient handout instructions. Retrieved from https://www.aafp.org/dam/AAFP/documents/journals/afp/PatientHandoutInstructions.pdf