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Background: Health literacy is a critical mediating factor that impacts on the health of older adults. Patient and public involvement in health and social care research, policy and design of care delivery is one mechanism that can promote production of better health literacy. This mapping review looks for and describes practices, concepts and methods that have been reported involving patients, public and (non-researcher) professionals in the development and design of health literacy interventions for older people.

Methods: Studies that aimed to improve health literacy were identified within a previously created compatible inventory of health behaviour studies for older people. Articles were screened for whether they addressed health literacy and featured involvement of stakeholders other than investigators and patients. Two reviewers independently read each study to identify any patient, public and professional involvement in the research process. We also noted some aspects of outcomes.

Results: Twenty-two studies included patient, public and/or professional involvement in at least one research domain: design, management or evaluation. Involvement included volunteers, older people, professionals, patients, and community representatives. All studies were driven by an organisational or biomedical agenda.

Conclusions: Patient, public and professional involvement wasrarely reported in studies on health literacy interventions for older people. This could help explain why some interventions fail to improve health literacy in older people.
Key words – health literacy intervention research, older people, patient and public involvement, mapping review
Original languageEnglish
Article number31
JournalResearch Involvement and Engagement
Publication statusPublished - 20 Dec 2017


  • Health literacy intervention research
  • Older people
  • Patient and public involvement
  • Mapping review

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