Each Emergency Room (ER) across the USA provides every patient with paperwork upon discharge, which commonly includes information about the patient’s diagnosis. This information will briefly describe the condition, provide information on treatment outside the ER, and possibly more, depending on the document and source. These documents are not made by hospital staff, but are generally purchased from outside providers who mass market such documents as resources for hospitals to use to educate patients. One issue with these documents lies in their mass usage, which is not necessarily designed to target the general population’s reading and educational levels.


The purpose of this research was to investigate currently used discharge education materials and evaluate them for their readability and content. From this investigation, recommendations were made and adjustments to the documents were applied in order to increase understanding for the general population.


The documents ranged in Flesch-Kincaid grade level rankings from 7.8 to 3.6, and with Flesch Reading Ease scores of 54.7 to 85.3. The entirety of the standard documents were ranked at a minimum of 7th grade equivalents, and are, at the hardest rank, ranked at a 54.7 by the Reading Ease score. In comparison, the ‘easy to read’ documents were ranked all below 5th grade level, and at the hardest rank, ranked at a 69.0 with the Flesch Reading Ease calculation. At a minimum, all documents included condition information and home care guidelines. The major obvious difference between the documents considered ‘easy to read’ and the standard documents are that those considered easy to read typically had sections found on the standard document removed, and have the same overall content as the standard version remaining, only in a simpler vocabulary.


In order to provide the best educational materials to the general public, it would be in the best interest of companies manufacturing these documents to produce only one version, which would be at a level around the 6th grade or below. A document slightly below the 6th grade level would be more ideal, as the simpler the document is, the more patients it will be accessible for overall, accounting for those who are below the national standards. It is not truly necessary to separate the documents into two forms, and it helps to prevent confusion or offense by doing so.

Thesis Completion




Thesis Chair/Advisor

Heglund, Stephen


Bachelor of Science in Nursing (B.S.N.)


College of Nursing


Orlando (Main) Campus



Access Status

Open Access

Release Date

May 2016