Supported decision making

Using accessible written information

Technical and unfamiliar information provided by health and social care professionals to support decision-making may be inaccessible and create confusion. It is essential that every piece of information produced supports personal understanding to enable people to make important health or life related decisions. 

Common content and design principles for making written information accessible to people with communication disorders:  

  • Use simple, everyday words and sentence structures. 
  • Use short sentences with one main idea per sentence. 
  • Use clear photographs to illustrate important single concepts. 
  • Use communication symbols if the reader is familiar with them. 
  • Use a sans serif font of at least size 14 point. 
  • Highlight important information using bold, headings and text boxes.  
  • Break up text using line spacing, bullet points, headings and white space.  
  • Involve the target audience in the creation of adapted information. 
  • Turn a paragraph of text into a series of bullet points or a flow chart demonstrating the order of events in a medical procedure, illustrated with photos of the actual equipment that will be used 

(Jayes 2013)