Communicating risks and benefits

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  • The health literacy tools can be used to check for understanding around risk. For example, people may be looking for information on the:
    • Chances of a procedure or treatment working
    • Risk of side-effects or complications from vaccines
  • Often this information is communicated in numerical terms and this can be challenging for 61% of people who lack numeracy skills 7
  • As well as checking for understanding with Teachback or Chunk and Check, pictures or infographics can be a good way to communicate risk.
It's Okay to Ask

The NHS Inform "It's Okay to Ask"  resource reminds people about four key questions to ask at a healthcare appointment.  Answers to these questions help people to be more involved in discussions with their healthcare professional and  to make better decisions about their  health and care. The questions cover: 

  1. What are the benefits of my treatment?
  2. What are the risks of my treatment?
  3. Any alternative treatments I can try?
  4. What if I do nothing?
Shared decision aids

Shared decision aids are a key way to help people understand risks and benefits. The next section tells you more about shared decision aids and how to access them. 

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