Health promotion has been defined by the World Health Organization’s (WHO) 2005 as “the process of enabling people to increase control over their health and its determinants, and thereby improve their health. ” Health Promotion is focused on bringing awareness to the public in order to prevent an increase in disease. Health promotion can also give the individual the tools and teaching needed to live a healthier life style, therefore optimizing their level of health and decrease the incidence of disease.
Health promotion is essential in the community, in schools and in the workplace. It brings very important information to the public, and sometimes lifesaving . interventions to certain individual. There are also other benefits to health promotion such as reducing health care costs. Individuals who choose healthier alternatives lower their chances of disease, which in turn can lower their health care costs. This is also beneficial in the work place, where employers can lower costs of health insurance.
The purpose of health promotion in nursing practice is to not only providing patient teaching on their particular disease process, but to also be that frontline educator on preventive health practices to remain healthy. It is also important that health promotion be given at the bedside. As Nurses we are not just a care giver to our patients, we also play the role of advocate. Advocacy is a key component in health promotion and as nurses it is our responsibility to incorporate health promotion into our practice in order to continue to be that advocate for the patient.
Another way that nurses contribute to health promotion is by being involved in the research, and the planning part of health promotion. Nurses are armed with the knowledge base needed to become an important factor in health promotion research, implementation and evaluation. Nursing roles in health promotion have evolved significantly over the years and have gone beyond providing curative measures. The public health nurse is required to understand how culture, economics, politics, psychosocial problems, and sanitation affect the public.
Public health nursing in the United States had quickly grown to include working with populations in diverse settings in the community such as schools, worksites, and neighborhoods. Today the role of the public nurse has expanded to not only helping to prevent illness, epidemics and the spread of disease but also promoting and supporting healthy behaviors. Public health nurses are also responsible to inform the public of services that are available and that can provide assistance to the individual or community and by assuring the quality and accessibility of health services.
The public health nurse of today also works with individuals that are homebound, such as the elderly, to ensure that safety measures are in place and that adequate health care and needs are being provided. This would include conducting health assessments, teaching on safety precautions in the home, ensure medication compliance and understanding of medication being taken, and the setting of goals and that appropriate patient outcomes are met. The public nurse should also work closely with a multidisciplinary team and community groups to improve quality of care and patient outcomes.
There are several models of health that are used in health promotion, these include, the clinical model, adaptive model, and high level wellness model. The clinical model is when one perceives health due to the absences of illness or is free of any signs and symptoms indicating illness or disease. These individuals will most likely not choose to engage in preventative measures or use other health services until there is a presence of illness. With these individuals education on preventive measures, importance of a healthy diet and an active lifestyle is imperative.
Implementing community clinics that offer free screenings, such as blood pressure or cholesterol, can be very beneficial. The adaptive model is the ability of an individual to adjust to physiological, social, or mental change. When the individual cannot adjust or becomes maladaptive to these changes, problems in the individuals overall health can occur. This individual can benefit from having access to community resources that can help the individual adapt to changes in his environment, and that can also provide teaching on coping strategies specifically tailored to that individual.
There are three levels of prevention when it comes to health promotion. The first of these levels is the Primary Level. The Primary level consists of preventing illness through immunization such as hepatitis B or influenza. . Living an active and healthy lifestyle can also be considered as primary prevention. Secondary prevention includes screening for potential disease, such as annual mammograms in woman over the age of 40. Secondary prevention also includes treatment in early stages of disease.
Tertiary preventions involve the treatment of chronic diseases and other critical health conditions such as congestive heart failure, or diabetes mellitus. In all levels of prevention patient education is key to help prevent further complications and to promote health. It is the nurses’ role as advocate to assess and determine the educational, social and environmental needs of the individual to better develop a plan of care and achieve positive patient outcomes.