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Nursing resources and subject guides for faculty and students

Literacy & health literacy


  • Centre for literacy
    The Centre for Literacy supports best practices and informed policy development in literacy and essential skills.


Health literacy

Creating effective materials for patients: GUIDES

The following guides can be used to develop effective written patient education materials:

  • How to create effective written patient learning materials - Jewish General Hospital
    Use this document to learn how to assess patient needs, write at an a appropriate literacy level, design the material visually to ensure that people with lower literacy understand the message being communicated, ensure that materials are evidence-based, and conduct a pre-publication evaluation of the material.

Click image to access the handbook   Cliquez l’image pour accéder au manuel
Click image to access the handbook in either English or French. Adapted by the JGH Patient Education Network (PEN) Working Group from the McGIll University Health Centre Standards for Developing Effective Written Patient Learning Materials 2007.

  • Pour qu'on se comprenne : guide de littératie en santé - Agence de santé et services sociaux
    This document provides guidance to health professionals on the topic of health literacy and also on creating effective patient materials for print, web, and multimedia (video, podcast etc). No English version is available at this time.

Assessing the impact of online consumer health information

“The Information Assessment Method (IAM) systematically documents reflection on health information, delivered or retrieved from electronic knowledge resources”.

Using visuals to communicate effectively



Creating effective materials for patients: TOOLS

Readability tools


Plain language dictionaries & thesauri

Use these to find plain language words to replace jargon.

  • Plain language medical dictionary
    This English dictionary was developed by the University of Michigan Taubman Health Sciences Library as part of the Michigan Health Literacy Awareness project.
  • CLAD thesaurus (PDF)
    "A thesaurus of about 600 common words and phrases that have shorter, more familiar alternatives.
  • Lexique de mots alternatifs
    This French dictionary was developed by the Réseau Québécois des Etablissements Promoteurs de Santé, with the collaboration of the team of Promotion de la santé du Centre hospitalier universitaire de Montréal (CHUM).

Assessing the Quality of Patient Education Materials

Anyone can publish anything online. Use the HonCode Criteria to evaluate the quality of consumer health information before sharing with patients.

Finding information to share with patients & Information services for patients

Multiple language resources

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