Like many social movements, Say Ah! started with a simple conversation at the kitchen table about how hard it is to deal with any kind of health issue. The frustration galvanized action that led to Say Ah!, a nonprofit organization that helps people understand health and medical information and improves communication between patients and healthcare providers.
This country’s healthcare system has become so complex that nearly nine out of ten people have trouble using it. On the other hand, we have a population that is increasingly being called upon to manage complicated care regimens with little or no support. From the start, Say Ah!’s opportunity to make a difference was huge.
Say Ah! strives to improve health literacy and people’s ability to attain and understand health and medical information in order to make positive choices about their well-being. This is one of the most important ways to get and stay healthy. In fact, it is a stronger predictor of health status than age, race, income or educational level, according to the Journal of the American Medical Association.
For patients and caregivers, Say Ah! has a variety of programming, including engaging workshops that are tailored to the needs of different groups, such as parents, caregivers, seniors and people managing a chronic illness. The popular Patient 101 workshop covers the simple and easy steps anyone can take to help people get better and safer care. Tips and strategies run the gamut, from how to effectively take notes during a doctor’s visit, to coordinating care properly to ensure an entire healthcare team is on the same page. Other workshop topics include E-Health: How to Find Reliable Information Online, The Caregiver Sandwich: Managing the Health of Your Growing Kids and Aging Parents, and Knowing What’s Right for You and Your Family: How to Evaluate Health Information.
The user-friendly Say Ah! website offers a wealth of information for patients, caregivers and consumers, as well as easy-to-read printed materials, like a Tips for Talking with Your Doctor card, which can be downloaded in English, Spanish, Russian and Haitian Creole.
Visit www.justsayah.org to learn more about Say Ah! and go to www.acacamps.org/research/enhance/reduce-injury-illness for further pointers on giving kids a healthy camp experience.
For physicians and other healthcare providers and community-based organizations, Say Ah! provides health literacy talks and trainings. These offer a general overview presentation and focused trainings on how to communicate health information in ways patients and caregivers can understand.
The organization’s tips and messages are also available on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn.
Tips to Ensure a Healthy Camp Experience
- Find out what kind of health services the camp provides, including emergency services, and if the staff receives health and wellness training. If you don’t like the answers you get, don’t send your child there.
- Confirm the camp follows basic health and safety practices, such as having kids cough and sneeze into an arm or sleeve and making kids wear appropriate footwear.
- Ensure the camp can handle your children’s needs, whether this means managing a chronic illness or allergies.
- Give the camp staff your correct contact information.
- Speak to the camp health provider directly and introduce your child to establish good communication and a friendly relationship. This is especially important if you have a child with special needs.
- Encourage children to seek help when it’s needed.
- Don’t send sick campers to camp. Learn your summer program’s health policies and procedures regarding fevers, stomach flu and other common illnesses.