• death and dying;
  • caregivers;
  • health education;
  • health care delivery


Many health care materials are not written at levels that can be understood by most lay people. In this descriptive study, we examined the readability of documents used by hospices to prepare families for caregiving at the time of death. We used two common formulae to examine the documents. The mean Flesch–Kincaid grade level was 8.95 (SD 1.80). The mean Simple Measure of Gobbledygook grade level was 11.06 (SD 1.36). When we used the Colors Label Ease for Adult Readers instrument, it became evident that medical terminology was the primary reason for the high-grade levels. Most documents (78%) included medical terms that were directly (46.2%) or indirectly (25.6%) explained in the text. Modification of hospice materials could improve families' comprehension of information important for optimal end-of-life care. © 2012 Wiley Periodicals, Inc. Res Nurs Health 35:242–249, 2012