Let’s PLAN health literacy tool supporting Work and Income clients

11 Mar 2016 | Partners in Care

The Commission’s Let’s PLAN for better care health literacy tool is being used by the Ministry of Social Development’s Work and Income case managers in Hawke’s Bay and Tairawhiti to help their clients make the most of their visits to their GP and other health services.

The free Let’s PLAN flyer encourages people to plan ahead for visits to their GP or other primary health care professional and to ask questions when there so they fully understand their diagnosis and treatment. It also suggests questions they can ask pharmacy staff when they pick up their medicine.

PLAN stands for:
Prepare for your visit 
Listen and share
Ask questions
Note down what you need to do next.

Work and Income East Coast Regional Health Advisor Nicki Lishman is part of a small team that supports the agency’s case managers. She says Let’s PLAN is useful in a number of situations.

"Our case managers work with a range of clients, from those who have multiple health conditions that impact severely on their capacity to work and are on a long-term benefit to those who might be able to do part-time work or eventual full-time work. We also have integrated services case managers who work with families who have complex issues.

"Our clients often have lots going on and it can be easy to get to their GP and forget all the things they wanted to discuss. Let’s PLAN is very useful for noting down these questions.

"This is particularly the case for clients who have conditions such as post-concussion syndrome, memory loss from a brain injury and other conditions that may impact on their ability to remember what to discuss."

She says Let’s PLAN is also useful when a family member supporting a client needs to see a GP or mental health service and finds it difficult to articulate what they need to tell the health professional.

The East Coast Health and Disability team also works closely with primary health organisation Health Hawke’s Bay on projects such as the 'Living well with long-term conditions' workshops for clients with long-term conditions and those caring for them. Let’s PLAN is included in the pack participants receive at the end of the course.

Health Hawke’s Bay also has a voucher scheme that entitles those not enrolled with a GP to a funded GP visit and a consultation with a nurse when they enrol.

"We use Let’s PLAN alongside those vouchers to help a client plan for their GP visit," says Nicki.

Her role also includes peer support and she’s given Let’s PLAN to Work and Income staff who are either planning to visit their GP themselves, or are concerned about a family member and want assistance for them from a GP or mental health service. "It helps them to plan for the visit and remember what to ask."

Pads of Let’s PLAN flyers and promotional posters are available free of charge to general practices and pharmacies by emailing communications@hqsc.govt.nz. Copies can also be downloaded from the Commission's website or filled in and printed using an interactive form.

Last updated 11/03/2016