Content Creator Toolkit

Supports to help you throughout the knowledge creation process

Patient Education Materials

For many, it can seem like health care providers are speaking another language. This is just one of the reasons why it is important to offer additional support to patients and families with easy-to-read, straightforward patient education materials. 

The Patient Education Team is available to support Nova Scotia Health staff & physicians across the province in creating evidence-based, people-centered pamphlets. Please note: The information and instructions on this page do not apply to Cancer Care or IWK patient education materials. Please connect with these individual teams for further support. 

Ready to get started?

Pamphlet Request Form


Check out some of our resources on creating content for patient education materials:

Creating a Pamphlet

Before you get started

  • Avoid starting from scratch. Always start by checking the current Nova Scotia Health patient pamphlets collection (by searching the Pamphlets Catalogue) for similar pamphlets, or email to see if anything already exists in our active or archived collections.
  • Read the Patient Education Material Guidelines 
  • Form a working group. Consult with colleagues to make sure content is in line with unit/department practice. Collaborate with a Patient Family Advisor to help keep the material people-centered. Final approval of the content should come from a division head, clinical leader, or a Nova Scotia Health staff member in an appropriate clinical role, so they should be aware of the project as it gets underway.
  • Choose copyright-free photos and illustrations that add to the reader's understanding of the material. Photos for esthetics only should be avoided. 
  • Let us know if you have a deadline and we will try to accommodate your timeline
Forget the formatting (this includes font, bullet styles, tables, layout, etc.). Create your draft using a standard 8.5"x11" Microsoft Word document - regardless of how the final version will look. 

Ready to get started?

  1. Develop a draft using a standard 8.5"x11" Microsoft Word document. The Patient Education Team uses standard formatting within design software to align with Nova Scotia Health branding and style. Most formatting is removed during our review so that we can easily edit and manipulate the content.

  2. Circulate your draft among your colleagues to review. Have a Patient Family Advisor review your draft and provide feedback. 

  3. Send your draft to The Patient Education Team will review for plain language, flow, and more. Our goal is a 6th grade reading level. 

  4. Answer questions and review edits. We will return a version of your draft for you and your team to review (let us know if you have a deadline). We will try to incorporate any feedback or edits you suggest, and continue to communicate with you as needed.  Now is the time to let us know which template you'd like us to use:
    • Booklet style (5.5" x 8.5") -- our most common format
    • Tri-fold style (8.5" x 3.6") -- will fit in a standard business envelope for mailing
    • Letter-size single page handout (8.5" x 11") -- can be single or double sided; can be produced as a tear off pad if requested
    • Large size guide (8.5"x 11") -- for lengthy and complex documents
  5. Approve the final document. Once you are happy with the final product, you will be asked to approve the document using the online Patient Pamphlet Approval Form. An Nova Scotia Health staff or physician with the appropriate clinical expertise must review the content before approval. If you are approving on behalf of someone, please note this within the form. 

Once your pamphlet is ready to go, we will let you know and send you everything you need to access the pamphlet online or to order print copies. 

Updating a Pamphlet

Did you know? NSHA Policy AD-LIB-001 Patient Education Materials: Development and Maintenance recommends that pamphlets be reviewed & updated every 3 years, or sooner if needed.

Keeping your content up to date helps provide patients with access to current, evidence-based information, in line with both Nova Scotia Health policy and practice. This helps patients understand and follow health care directives, supporting both self-care and patient safety.

When it's time to update an existing pamphlet, the Patient Education Team will email to remind you that an update is needed.

How do I update a pamphlet?

  1. Contact to let us know you are ready to start the updating process. We’ll send you the most recent version in a format ready for updating. Let your manager know you are starting this process so they are ready to review and approve when needed.
  2. Review using  'Track Changes' in Word (.doc, .docx) or add comments as 'Sticky Notes' to a PDF (.pdf), so that we can quickly see your edits. Check things like contact information and clinic hours, make sure your instructions are up-to-date, etc. Share with your team members and Patient Family Advisors for feedback as well.
  3. When it's ready for us to implement the changes, send it back to us at We will review for plain language once again, and alter any formatting needed. 
  4. Review the final changes and have a manager or supervisor authorize the update using the Patient Pamphlet Approval Form. If you are approving on behalf of someone, please note this within the form. 

Ordering Pamphlets


To order print copies of any Nova Scotia Health Patient Education Pamphlet: 

1. Find the pamphlet print code.

Every pamphlet has a unique alpha-numeric print code assigned to it. You can find this code online, when you search Pamphlets Catalogue or when you browse the Print Code Index. If you have a printed copy of a pamphlet, you'll find the print code on the back cover, in the lower left corner, with two letters and six numbers: XX85-####. The four-digit number at the end of the print code is unique to that pamphlet title. 

2. To order bulk copies, complete and submit a Dal Printing & Digital Copying Services Requisition Form. Complete this form based on your zone, using the links below.  

If you wish to get a quote before submitting your print order, please contact The Print Shop can ship print copies anywhere in Nova Scotia. Please note, there may be a shipping fee depending on your location.

*Please keep in mind, content is frequently updated. Therefore, it is not recommended to order copies in large quantities.

Printing Pamphlets

To print a Nova Scotia Health Pamphlet: 

We know that sometimes you may need to print a few copies using your office printer. Although this is not the recommended way to print bulk copies, here's a few things to remember when printing pamphlets this way:

  1.  Always make sure you print using the online link.
    • Search for the item on the Print Code Index, or Pamphlets listing, then print the PDF within your browser. 
    • Why? Our links never change. When you access a pamphlet online, you know you are viewing the most recent version of the pamphlet. When you print a pamphlet saved off your desktop, unless you downloaded it moments before, you may not be printing the most recent version of the item.
  2. Tri-fold pamphlets (formatted to be folded in thirds) always have two links to view the pamphlet (1 for easy reading, 1 for easy printing).
    • Find the "Printer-Friendly Version" link found on the Pamphlets listing.
    • In the Print window, select, 'Flip on short edge'.

Remember: If your unit, clinic, or department often use print copies of pamphlets with your clients, you are encouraged to order copies from Dalhousie Printing Services using your cost center, following the instructions outlined above under, Ordering Pamphlets.

Sharing Pamphlets

Pamphlets and other patient education materials were meant to be shared!

Now more than ever, patients and families are accessing health information on the web, using their smartphone, tablet, or computer. Did you know that all Nova Scotia Health patient materials can be viewed and downloaded to their devices any time, anywhere? Patient materials are already formatted for mobile view.

How can you support digital access for your patients and their families?

  • Know the web address (url) to the pamphlets you regularly provide to your patients and families. These can be easily found here: or here:
  • Share the links to your most frequently used pamphlets on your Nova Scotia Health programs and services page:
  • Share the links to your most frequently used pamphlets on your Nova Scotia Health Library Services Subject Guide
  • Patients and families aren't the only ones who use pamphlets - remind your team about your most frequently used pamphlets and ways to share them with patients and families, too!

Keeping it People-Centered

How can you make your pamphlet more people-centered? We recommend including Patient/Family Advisors (PFAs) in your working group. 

The following Nova Scotia Health resources may help you and your team better engage with your patients and families:

Find these and more patient engagement resources on our Engagement guide.