The refinement of a booklet on stroke care at home

Botha, J. H. (2008-03)

Thesis (MScMedSc (Rehabilitation))--University of Stellenbosch, 2008.


Stroke is the second commonest cause of mortality worldwide and remains a leading cause of adult physical disability. It is estimated that sixty percent of South African stroke survivors require assistance with at least one activity of daily living. This burden is predominantly on the shoulders of mostly untrained caregivers. The process of enabling caregivers to make choices conducive to their own health as well as the health of the stroke survivors is multidimensional. One of the cornerstones of this process is the provision of information. In 1995, the Centre for Rehabilitation Studies of the University of Stellenbosch started to develop a training package for stroke care at home. The training takes the form of an interactive workshop and a booklet with practical information. The aim of this study was to refine and pilot this booklet for implementation with the training. The study found that existing guidelines to evaluate the appropriateness of written material for developing communities (measured by Hugo’s grading model), were inadequate. Consequently, a new checklist, based on twenty existing checklists, was compiled. This list, as well as the Suitability Assessment of Material (SAM), was used to evaluate the booklet and make recommendations for a pre-pilot refinement. Even though this checklist has not been validated, it revealed similar results to the SAM when applied to the booklet. After cosultation with the authors, improvements were effected to the booklet The booklet was tested with four samples of the target audience. The functional literacy of the participants was determined using a standardised literacy test. A fifth sample completed a questionnaire on their preference between the pre- and postrefined booklet. Experts in the field of rehabilitation and graphic design also commented on the booklet. This study confirmed the need of stroke survivors and their caregivers for written health information. The refined booklet was found to be an appropriate tool to address the needs of the target audience. The participants perceived the booklet as useful and comprehensible and the readability level was shown to correspond with the tested literacy level of the samples. However, there is a need for printed material on topics related to stroke not currently covered in the booklet, e.g. spasticity. This study showed that the checklist could be used to tailor written health information that is preferred by the target audience. It confirmed that the testing of printed material with stakeholders could expose additional gaps after applying the checklist. Recommendations for further improvements were made based on the comments of the participants. It is foreseen that the new checklist could be a valuable tool for developing future written health material. Finally, it is recommended that an interdisciplinary team that includes a graphic designer be involvement from the planning stages.

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