Easy read guides to health choices and questions to ask

Easy read for shared decision making

NHS Knowledge and Library Services have worked with people with lived experience to produce two, new, easy read guides for people with learning disabilities.

Regardless of their abilities, anyone can have problems understanding and accessing health information.  This could include information about medication, appointments, treatment or their health conditions, as well as the format information is provided in, for example by letter, email and online.

‘Get ready to talk about your health’ prepares people for what to do before they go for a consultation with any health or care provider.  It includes important information about their rights and what they can ask for, such as information in different formats, help to understand information provided or physical help to get to and from appointments. 

3 questions for better health’ suggests what to ask when people have a healthcare appointment. Adapted in consultation with experts by experience into easy read from the NICE shared decision making guidance, the main emphasis is making sure people understand they have a choice about their health and care.  The questions are:

  • What are my choices?
  • What is good and bad about my choices?
  • Can I get support to help me make my choices? 

Designed to help people navigate healthcare information, the simply explained guides could help them get the treatment they need and want and get the answers they need to understand information they are given.

Health Education England has funded the project to produce the easy read documents and the team has worked with experts by experience throughout to make sure the finished product is fit for purpose, along with a representative from NICE. 

While designed for people with learning difficulties, these guides are also very useful for professionals – to help them understand the needs of people with disabilities or learning difficulties.  They also provide a really useful guide for anyone planning or receiving healthcare as the information is relevant for everyone.

Ruth Carlyle, Head of Knowledge and Library Services, HEE said: “It is so important we enable people with learning disabilities and autism to have better health conversations and participate in the choices and management of their own health. This piece of work is a start to that process.

“I am confident these leaflets and the videos will be welcomed by the health and care professions as well as patients. Although these leaflets are produced in easy read, the content and format will help anyone who struggles with health literacy.  It is also useful for those who might struggle to comprehend a health diagnosis.

“It has been an enjoyable process to produce these documents with the talented group of experts by experience and I hope we will work together on other projects soon”.

The documents have been produced as accessible PDFs to download or print out. 

The second, exciting phase of the project is to produce this supporting information as a video – currently being co-produced with the same group of experts by experience and it will be available later this year.

Get the guides

Download the guides

You can get both guides from our host website – under the ‘accessible and easy read’ section.

Promotional resources

As well as the guides we will produce posters and social media graphics to help promote these new guides.  if you would like PDF copies of our posters and social media banners please email us at kfh.england@hee.nhs.uk