community essay

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Health literacy is the desired outcome of health promotion – a concept based on the principles of primary health care which enforces the focus from illness and treatment to sustainable well-being (Hefford et al, 2005). The Ottawa Charter for health promotion (1986) outlines five key strategies to promote health including implementing healthy policies, building supportive environments, strengthening community action, and developing personal skills. It emphatically values democratic participation, community development, and empowerment by which “disadvantaged individuals and groups are enabled to represent themselves and lobby for their own needs” (Carlisle, 2000). It is these principles that guide nurses that work within community settings. The focus on primary health care is important because of the growing role of the primary health care sector in the prevention and management of chronic illness. Chronic conditions are now the major burden of illness for most of the world’s people, and are a growing problem for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, accounting for much of the gap in life expectancy (Beaver & Zhao, cited in Dwyer et el 2004). Effective clinical management of conditions such as diabetes is the key to reducing their consequences and costs. This requires both specialist knowledge and ongoing, community-based care for people with these conditions; with a strong focus on preventing the development of complications (Diabetes Australia, 2014). Early identification of those at risk or in the early stages, an intervention to reduce the risk or retard the development of chronic illness is critical. Primary prevention (through diet, exercise, lifestyle generally and attention to environmental and social facto... ... middle of paper ... ...tions in managing their condition. If there is a gap or misunderstood information, the health educator can identify what information needs to be repeated (Dinh, et al 2013). This is continued until the client gets the instructions right. Examples of this method would be when teaching the client about what foods to avoid and not to avoid as a diabetic, to ask questions like “can you now tell me what foods you are going to avoid, and why?” The patient should be able to then repeat back their understanding of good and bad foods and the rationale for this. Patients and providers both feel better when they confirm understanding (Dinh, et al 2013). Rather than hoping that patients correctly learned what to do, providers can be reassured that at least they understood what was said “They came for help and I helped. I know that this patient understands what I just said.”

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