We recently came across an article about 8-10 year olds who were asked to rewrite the patient brochure for a total hip replacement surgery. It sounds like a strange task to assign to a child, but researchers were interested in finding out what a vastly simplified version of an often-complicated handout might look like. Most of us have received a brochure or explanation that had a little too much medical jargon for comfort, and who better than kids to boil those complex explanations down to their core?

While you probably don’t need a 9-year-old’s explanation for your next procedure or test, the article raises an important point. Don’t be afraid or embarrassed of asking your doctor for a simpler explanation! If you get a handout or a verbal description of something from a medical professional that you don’t understand, you should absolutely ask them to simplify it. You’ll feel more confident in your treatment and you may even have a better outcome— after all, you’ll be more likely to follow critical instructions if you can understand them and their purpose.

NPR’s website has the rewritten brochure, and it’s worth a read— the kids’ work is both adorable and kind of brilliant!


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