Health promotion is defined by the world health organization as the process of enabling people to increase control over, and to improve, their health. It moves beyond a focus on individual behavior towards a wide range of social and environmental interventions. The purpose of health promotion is to empower people to improve their health and delay disease, disability, and death. The nurses plays an important role in health-promoting activities which include educating people in making important life changing decision such as healthy eating, stress management, adequate physical activity, adequate sleep and not smoking. Achieving optimal health is not the sole responsibility of the individual the government are also involved in health promotion by creating safe environment free of pollution, safe drinkable water, provide vaccines for preventable diseases.
Health differences can be reduced by providing culturally relevant health information, programs, and services, creating public policy that promotes health, improving access to health care and providing other opportunities for making healthy choices. Primary prevention is the prevention of diseases and conditions before their biological onset. This can be achieve in many ways, such as educating individuals to decrease risk taking behaviors, preventing environmental exposures, environmental health measures, such as maintaining a safe water and food supply. Educating individuals on sex educations such as promoting the use of condoms, abstinence before marriage, avoiding multiple sex partners will prevent sexual transmitted diseases such as HIV, and also reduce the risk of cervical cancer in women.
Education in healthy eating habit and increase in physical activity will reduce obesity and prevent some diseases associated with obesity such as hypertension, type 2 diabetes, heart related conditions etc. Vaccines are good examples of primary prevention measures, many diseases today have been prevented with the use of vaccines. Good example of secondary prevention in the hospital settings is offering of flu vaccine and pneumonia vaccine to all discharged patient who meets the criteria. Education on the use of seat belt will reduce the degree of automobile injuries. Secondary prevention is the process of identifying the presence of disease in the body at an early stage when it has not advanced to the point of causing any signs, symptoms or disability .
These preclinical conditions are most often discovered by disease screening. Screenings such as routine mammograms, Pap smear, colonoscopy, PSA, prevents disease emergence and this usually leads prevention of serious complications. Secondary preventions also includes routine blood works to check for cholesterol level, prescreening for hypertension, screening for high blood-lead level for people who work in environment with lead exposure. Nurses should promote secondary prevention in our area of work, in the communities; they should emphasis on the importance of health screenings to the clients in their area of profession. The government should also provide funds for secondary prevention by providing resources for free screening in public places like the school, church, hospitals, town hall etc.
With secondary prevention there will be delay in disease progression, disability and death. Tertiary prevention is the prevention of disease progression and complication after it has been clinically diagnosed. This includes the rehabilitation and management of the disease , example of tertiary prevention is the routine screening for and management of diabetic associated conditions in a diabetic patient such as renal ,eye, and foot problems. Eliminating offending allergens from asthmatic patients. Preventing reoccurrence of myocardial infarction with blood thinners such as aspirin, Plavix etc. The use of physical therapist and occupational therapist to regain physical function in a stroke patient.
Nurses in their different area of nursing plays important roles in health promotion, it could be by primary prevention, secondary prevention, or tertiary prevention. When a patient is admitted in the hospital it is the duty of the nurses to educate the patient and the family on the tertiary prevention level on how to manage his disease such as to comply with ordered medication, diet modifications, smoking cessation etc.
Educational handouts with specific teaching on disease prevention and management should be given to patient upon discharge.In conclusion primary prevention is the most important preventive measure in health promotion, while secondary prevention is very vital in health promotion as with this preventive measure there is a high chance of a positive outcome. Also tertiary prevention is also very important as it minimizes complication and delay death.
Robert, R. B. (2002). Encyclopedia of Public Health.Retrieved on January 13, 2013 from GCU Library.Retrieved on January 13, 2013 from www.who.int/topics/health_promotion.