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When the process for using family members to review educational materials was formalized at Seattle (WA) Children's Hospital, an old survey used informally was revamped.
"The purpose of the form, currently and in the past, has been to get information about how well materials work from a family's perspective. However, we found the older form did not address all the issues we wanted to know regarding our health education materials," says Chris Hanssmann, MPH, CHES, a health educator at Seattle Children's.
For example, the old form had a question that asked families if they knew who to call after reading the material. The new version asks whether families know what to do after reading the flyer.
The change is to provide more insight into whether the main messages are clear to families.
"Among other things, we're interested in getting a sense of families' reaction to the 'now what?' that comes after looking at educational materials," explains Hanssmann.
They also want families to give their impression of what the main messages of the material are to see if it matches the intended learning objectives.
In addition, they wanted to make sure the review form included a way to assess whether educational materials communicate to patients and families the institution's commitment to family-centered care. That's why a question was added about whether families felt the material included them as part of their child's care team.
Health educators at Seattle Children's Hospital collaborated on the form. To guide the process, they collected forms from a variety of other health care institutions. This helped them see how others were obtaining feedback from families. Then the educators listed the areas in which they wanted to gather detailed information. These areas were based on health education theory about plain language, logical structure, and use of visual images, among other factors.
Questions solicit the following information: whether the flyer or material answered the family's questions; whether families know what to do after reading it; whether it's written in words they understand; and whether it includes them as part of their child's care team.
In addition, families are asked to name the main things they learned from the material and whether the length was about right. A variety of responses help to analyze the visual images in the material, to determine if families liked and understood them, whether they fit with the topic, and whether they made the material easier to read.
Now that the form is complete, it is being pre-tested with families to see if the questions make sense to people and capture the appropriate information.
This is accomplished by using the form on a small scale in the evaluation of health care materials. Family members are then asked their experiences of completing the form to find out whether there were any difficult or confusing questions.
"We will also be analyzing the completed forms to see whether there are certain questions that people are not completing or if there are other sticking points or irregularities. At that point, we will make any revisions that are necessary based on our analysis and information from families and begin to use the form more broadly," says Hanssmann.