Current text-based discharge instructions are unsuitable for low-literate older adults who have difficulty following written action-based instructions. To address this issue, we developed discharge instructions for low-literate older adults after hip replacement surgery using pictographs (i.e., simple line drawings with stick figures showing explicit care actions). The aim of this focus group study was to examine the acceptability and comprehension of these instructions to 15 low-literate older adults. Participants perceived that the pictograph-based discharge instructions helped them understand the intended health care messages, especially for step-by-step procedures of discharge actions. The black-and-white line drawings were well received by all participants of various race/ethnicity. A pictograph-based approach is an effective strategy for developing discharge instructions not only for patients with low literacy skills in acute health care settings, but also for immigrants with significant communication challenges. Future research is suggested to compare the effects of pictograph-based and text-based instructions on adherence to instructions and health outcomes.
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