Prevention & Its Many Faces

Three levels of prevention exist in community health care: primary, secondary, and tertiary. Prevention is a pivotal part of community health care and is key to individual care as it can be modified to meet a variety of health concerns.

– Primary prevention often aims to assist the community in gaining control over their health and therefore improving it. An example of this would be sexual health education programs in elementary & high school education. While concerns regarding sexual health may not already be present, it works preventatively to promote health in a supporting environment.

– Secondary prevention is facilitated when health concerns have become a reality and its proliferation must be limited. An example of this is educating the public on the symptoms of a disease (ie H1N1) and advising those with symptoms to stay home to recover as quickly as possible and prevent the spread of disease.

– Tertiary prevention also occurs when health concerns are present and work towards maximum reduction of complications related to the health concern (ex. Educating a patient with diabetes about lifelong positive lifestyle choices and of additional diabetes related complications).

How Home Health Care has its Fingers in Every Piece of the Pie

Self-management of any medical issue is a complex process, which is very aided by nursing partners. This partnership can be founded through primary health care in preventive therapeutic seminars, through the medical teams of primary care clinics, and through the intensive care provided in emergency settings. These partnerships can be transported into the client's home setting through the home health registered nurse.

Establishing a successful and supportive partnership includes integration of nursing standards of practice to better facilitate rapport, understanding of the client's experience of their disease, and how they are working towards self-management. Professional partnerships allow nurses to effectively communicate with their clients in order to assess the client's knowledge, advise them regarding their health concerns, set goals and assist the client in promoting their health, and arrange for follow-up assessments. While the nurse can provide the resources for the client to make decisions, it is the client's independent decision to act. Home health offers a unique arena in which this is easily possible; the nurse is on the client's “turf” (as opposed to a clinic or hospital). The home health nurse supports and nurtures the client's independence and respects the client's decisions, further facilitating an effective partnership.

Effective partners between clients and their medical caregivers, especially in home health care, better allow for more effective preventative primary health care. Better preventative care decreases the likelihood of individuals falling through the cascade of urgent / emergency care and improves their overall health.

Bringing Black Bag Visits To The Wired Generation

All types of health care, wherever they take place in emergency or in your living room, can be and are currently being enhanced through the use of technology. Current technology is integrated into the use of information systems and the partnering of educated medical professionals with individuals to promote more successful interactions and relationships.

Paperless charting allows for different departments in hospitals to instantly share information about patients. E-meetings over the Internet allow for medical consultations and therapeutic sessions to more easily occur in rural areas. Online forums allow for medical professionals to share more information, brainstorm about issues, and gain new perspectives on old problems.

This “meeting of minds” which occurs when the community is joined with the medical team supports the primary health care principle of intersectoral support, as multiple avenues of experts and specialists are a highly valued addition to community health care.

The Take-Home, Part 2

Preventative care is the key to all health care. Preventative care happens everywhere, wherever someone is receiving it in the community about the importance of exercise from their local gym, from their physician handing them educational pamphlets about the long-term effects of diabetes, or from their home health nurse demonstrating how to safely get in & out of bed. Preventative care can decrease the likelihood of an emergency room visit and can make clinical visits less acute. Our online world makes preventative more available through instant dissemination of information and puts you, the consumer, at the core of medical care.