Journal Article

Typeface legibility of patient information leaflets intended for community-dwelling seniors

Adriana Chubaty, Cheryl A. Sadowski and Anita G. Carrie

in Age and Ageing

Published on behalf of British Geriatrics Society

Volume 38, issue 4, pages 441-447
Published in print July 2009 | ISSN: 0002-0729
Published online May 2009 | e-ISSN: 1468-2834 | DOI:
Typeface legibility of patient information leaflets intended for community-dwelling seniors

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Background: there are guidelines available from a number of countries and organisations regarding the design of written information, as appropriate design is essential for effective communication. The design of leaflets should be evaluated, as written information that does not adhere to guidelines may not be effective for seniors.

Objective: to use current typeface guidelines to describe the design of health information leaflets.

Design: this was a cross-sectional study of leaflets from pharmacies and seniors’ clinics.

Setting: community pharmacies, seniors’ clinics in Edmonton, Canada.

Methods: health information leaflets and hydrochlorthiazide information sheets were collected. The body of each was evaluated, based on guidelines (from Canada, UK and USA). Adherence to recommendations was assessed descriptively.

Results: a total of 388 unique leaflets and 10 hydrochlorthiazide sheets were collected from 21 pharmacies and 3 clinics. Most leaflets were produced by pharmaceutical companies (42.8%) and contained disease information (43.8%). Only one-third of all leaflets used the minimum recommended point size (12 point), 18.6% followed American guidelines for line spacing (1.5 lines), but 77.1% had appropriate contrast.

Conclusions: although guidelines are available, most leaflets did not meet recommendations. Improvements in the leaflet design should be considered to aid seniors in the uptake of information.

Keywords: leaflets; geriatric; seniors; aged; vision; elderly

Journal Article.  4188 words. 

Subjects: Geriatric Medicine

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