OBJECTIVE: This study investigates the format in which patients would like to pursue their health education within the chiropractic clinic.
METHODS: An exploratory study of chiropractic patients was undertaken to investigate patients' preferred health education formats, their commitment to pursuing health objectives, and their literacy level. Purposive sampling of 9 Australian chiropractic clinics was undertaken. Convenience sampling of patients attending these clinics resulted in 102 patients participating. Participants completed a questionnaire. A research assistant was available to clarify any questions. Data were collected and collated. A Likert scale was used to capture responses to questions ascertaining patient opinions.
RESULTS: Patients considered health the most important of the life objectives listed; however, they preferred spending time with family to undertaking health- and fitness-promoting activity. More chiropractic patients opted for health information brochures than health promotion classes, personally supervised self-care programs, or practitioner-supervised self-care contracts. Patient literacy levels varied within and between clinics.
CONCLUSIONS: Brochures may provide a definitive health information tool for chiropractors who limit their clinical role to primary contact and a helpful adjunct to patient education for chiropractors committed to a primary care role. However, care should be taken to select brochures consistent with the patients' literacy level. Tips for selecting and preparing suitable brochures are provided. The discrepancy between how greatly patients value health and how they prefer spending their time may have implications for successful behavior change. Brochures may not alone constitute adequate practitioner involvement.
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