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  1. Nemmers, Theresa M. PhD, PT, GCFP
  2. Jorge, Milagros EdD, PT
  3. Leahy, Theresa MHS, PT, NCS


To navigate the health care system and actively participate in the clinical decision-making process, aging consumers must possess health literacy, an essential skill that enables them to locate, understand, and use health information. Clear associations between limited health literacy and poor health care outcomes in the older adult population have been documented. This article defines health literacy and the scope of the problem of limited health literacy in the aging population; describes the impact of low health literacy on patient care, patient access, and health outcomes; reviews conceptual frameworks for understanding the relationship between the individual's health literacy skills and health care outcomes; provides an overview of current initiatives to address limited health literacy; and highlights potential intervention points for the rehabilitation professional.