This paper contributes to the thinking about how complex information is best made available to help people to self-manage. It describes how humour is frequently used by people with long-term conditions to help adjustment and coping and how cartoons, as well as bringing humour, can help provide clarity and address concerns related to health literacy.
The paper sets out the importance of maximising the acceptability and utility of information for use by patients in order to improve the quality and engagement of patients in the field of self-management. It describes the process used to develop cartoons following two focus groups around the themes of getting a diagnosis; understanding the problem; feeling that facts were being withheld; and setting priorities, and how these were subsequently evaluated – providing a methodology that others could potentially use.
The evaluation found that cartoons were shown to affect morale and potential future behaviour and the paper concludes that bespoke cartoons based on experiential and lay knowledge and narratives together with making use of metaphor and humour which are known agents of engagement in health matters, is one means of addressing the health literacy agenda in the arena of long-term condition management.