Project Sunshine is a great example of what Len Doak called “anticipation”.
Len Doak, who was a health literacy pioneer, died in the US in July. He and his wife Ceci pioneered the field of health literacy.
Len and Ceci, along with Jane Root, wrote a seminal text called Teaching Patients with Low Literacy Skills.
I met Len and Ceci Doak for the first time last year when I attended the IHA Health Literacy Conference in California. However, they had influenced my understanding of health literacy for many years through their seminal text and through the ongoing practical posts Len made to the Health Literacy Listserv.
Chapter 9 of the book has tips on teaching. Step 4 is Helping Patients Anticipate The Experiences Within the Health Care Settings. When I read the book many years ago this was one of the the tips that really resonated with me because it anticipates the demands the health system places on patients. It was the underlying theme for my Pecha Kucha presentation at the Health Literacy Conference.
So for the last few days, Len Doak and his wife Ceci have not been far from my thoughts. And then I read about Planet Sunshine from Tairawhiti DHB:
Children who need treatment at Gisborne Hospital now have a unique way to experience a visit, thanks to an online tool developed by Tairawhiti District Health. The ‘online trip to Planet Sunshine’ (the hospital’s children’s ward) is an interactive, child-friendly virtual tour that lets kids explore for themselves what happens when they go in for an operation, X-ray, scan, or to the emergency department, and to show family and friends what happened once they’re home again (HIIRC).
Planet Sunshine is a great example of helping children anticipate the next steps in their health journey. There are audio clips saying who people are, their roles and what will happen. Safety messages are repeated and confirmed. Even though the resource is ostensibly for children, their whānau will no doubt also gain valuable information about what is going to happen. Congratulations to Tairawhiti DHB – you have done Len Doak proud.
Kua hinga te tōtara i Te Waonui-a-Tāne, the tōtara tree has fallen in Tāne’s great forest.
Len Doak, the world is a lesser place without you.
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