Click on any step listed below to learn more:
Choose a lead to manage the process of creating a new resource. This person will coordinate the process of developing content, collecting feedback and managing revisions.
The lead should work with an inter-professional team to:
Identify 3-5 key messages for this resource based on what patients want and need to know
Try to limit content to what is most important for patients to know and provide links to further information for when patients are ready to learn more.
Make sure your key messages are clear right from the beginning of the document.
Samples and Templates
Using templates can be helpful for planning and getting feedback on material but this step is optional. The final formatting will be done by Medical Media.
The templates below are designed with set styles based on patient education best practices. They also include plain language tips. If you use the set styles in the template, the material will look very similar to the final product, once formatted by Medical Media. Click on the template icon and then on the download arrow.
Letter-sized paper, folded once
Often most readable format
|Full page (8.5x11")||
Letter-sized paper, double sided
400 words max without pictures
May use for documents with more pages when no cover page is used
|Large booklet (8.5x11")||
11x17" paper, folded once
Best for longer documents with a table of contents
If using, try to keep documents to 12 pages or less
Note: Tri-fold pamphlets are no longer recommended. They do not meet accessibility standards for online use. They can also be confusing to use for some readers.
Before: Common side effects of this medicine include dizziness
After: You may feel dizzy when taking this medicine
Passive: An examination will be conducted.....
Active: Your doctor will examine you...
Here are some examples of how to change your message using plain language:
|Instead of:||Use plain language, such as:|
|Patients are encouraged to contact their health provider if further information is required.||If you have questions, call your doctor.|
|Patients frequently experience a number of side effects as the anesthetic wears off, including difficulties with nausea, confusion and urination among others.||After surgery you will feel drowsy. You may also:
|Access to quality and timely health care is critical for everyone.||Everyone must be able to get good quality health care services when they need them.|
|Environmental Services is the housekeeping services team that will clean your room daily. Daily cleaning will include waste removal, mopping of floors, washroom cleaning, and replenishing supplies. If you require housekeeping services, please notify your care provider.||Your room is cleaned every day by our housekeeping services team. They remove waste, mop floors, clean the washroom and restock supplies. If you need housekeeping services, please talk to a member of your health care team.|
|Immunization procedures will be performed twice a year.||We will immunize children each January and June.|
For more tips to help you write content, see the samples and templates in the previous section. The templates include tips for plain language and design. To learn more, join a plain language education session or contact Patient Education for further assistance.
Pictures and illustration can be helpful to enhance understanding. If you want to use a picture in your written materials, make sure that you have permission to use it. Assume that internet images are copyrighted unless they are labeled for re-use.
Sources of images:
How to use illustrations:
Simple image with labels
Images to enhance meaning