Readability and content of patient information leaflets for endoscopic procedures
Gargoum, F. S.
O’Keeffe, S. T.
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Gargoum, F. S. O’Keeffe, S. T. (2013). Readability and content of patient information leaflets for endoscopic procedures. Irish Journal of Medical Science (1971 -) 183 (3), 429-432
Informed consent requires good communication. Patient information leaflets (PILs) may be helpful, although some PILs are too hard to read for the average patient. We sought to examine the readability of PILs provided for patients prior to endoscopic procedures in 24 gastrointestinal and 16 respiratory departments of 24 Irish public hospitals. Readability, measured using the Flesch Reading Ease and the Flesch-Kincaid Grade Level scores, and content of all PILs were examined. We received 61 PILs from 17 gastrointestinal and 7 respiratory departments, a response rate of 60 % (24/40). Overall, 38 (62 %) PILs met a minimum standard of a Reading Ease score of 60 or more. Only two (3 %) PILs met the optimal reading standard of being comprehensible to an average 10- to 11-year-old, while 35 (57 %) PILs would be comprehensible to an average 13- to 14-year-old. There were striking differences between PILs (and particular departments) in the amount of information given regarding potential complications-in particular, serious complications. With the exception of PILs for endoscopic retrograde cholangiopancreatography, less than half of PILs mentioned death as a possible rare outcome. This study raises significant concerns about the readability and content of current Irish PILs, and it is unlikely that these issues are restricted to leaflets given prior to endoscopy. A standardised approach to developing PILs for common elective procedures, with minimum standards for readability and a uniform approach, based on current Irish legal requirements, to risk disclosure, might be helpful.