Influence of Caretakers' Health Literacy on Delays to Traumatic Brain Injury Care in Uganda.

Journal Article (Journal Article)

Background: Traumatic brain injury (TBI) is a life-altering condition, and delays to care can significantly impact outcomes. In Uganda, where nurse shortages are prevalent, patients' family members are the primary caretakers of these patients and play an important role in ensuring patients' access to timely care. However, caretakers often have little or no knowledge of appropriate patient care. Caretakers' ability to navigate the healthcare system and find and use health information to support their patients can impact delays in seeking, reaching, and receiving care. Objectives: This study seeks to determine the factors that impact TBI patient caretakers' health literacy and examine how these factors influence delays in care. Methods: This study was carried out in the Mulago National Referral Hospital neurosurgical ward, where 27 adult caretakers were interviewed using semi-structured, in-depth, qualitative interviews. "The Three Delay Framework" was utilized to understand participants' experiences in seeking, reaching, and receiving care for TBI patients. Thematic content analysis and manual coding was used to analyze interview transcripts and identify overarching themes in participant responses. Findings: The main health literacy themes identified were Extrinsic, Intrinsic and Health System Factors. Nine sub-themes were identified: Government Support, Community Support, Financial Burdens, Lack of Medical Resources, Access to Health Information, Physician Support, Emotional Challenges, Navigational Skills, and Understanding of Health Information. These components were found to influence the delays to care to varying degrees. Financial Burdens, Government Support, Emotional Challenges, Physician Support and Lack of Medical Resources were recurring factors across the three delays. Conclusion: The health literacy factors identified in this study influence caretakers' functional health literacy and delays to care in a co-dependent manner. A better understanding of how these factors impact patient outcomes is necessary for the development of interventions targeted at improving a caretaker's ability to maneuver the healthcare system and support patients in resource-poor settings.

Full Text

Duke Authors

Cited Authors

  • Nwosu, C; Spears, CA; Pate, C; Gold, DT; Bennett, G; Haglund, M; Fuller, A

Published Date

  • October 6, 2020

Published In

Volume / Issue

  • 86 / 1

Start / End Page

  • 127 -

PubMed ID

  • 33102147

Pubmed Central ID

  • PMC7546101

Electronic International Standard Serial Number (EISSN)

  • 2214-9996

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

  • 10.5334/aogh.2978


  • eng

Conference Location

  • United States