What are the factors influencing health
Our human ancestors have been on this planet for perhaps two million years. For 99. 5% of that time, they existed as hunters and gatherers. The development of agriculture began about 10,000 years ago. We have had cities for about 8,000 years, and our dependence on fossil fuel came about only within the past few hundred years. Today, the advancement in technology has changed our lifestyle completely. Our way of living is so different from our hunting and gathering ancestors that we can scarcely comprehend it.
Now, there are few hunting and gathering societies left, but those who still exist can provide us with information about how our ancestors lived. The Australian aborigines or the bushman of the Kalahari desert in Botswana and South-West Africa have been studied and provide some insight into those earlier lifestyles. Because of the dust, perspiration and the blazing sun, the Kalahari bushman’s skins darken to a copper brown. (1) Although their livers are difficult by our standards, particularly during the dry seasons, they appear to be healthy and happy.
The major tasks are concerned with obtaining food and water. Shelter in their mild climate is not a problem. Clothing needs are few and simple. Their leisure activities include singing, dancing and storytelling as there is no radios, no televisions, no computers. Yet, they appear to have a more enjoyable existence. The advances in technology have changed our lifestyle. When civilization has brought us many comforts such telephone, air-conditioners and motor vehicles, there are also negative consequences.
The high technology that provides us with modern comforts has also provided the means to destroy the plant. Our quality of life in some way is being affected. Comparatively, our ancestors seem rather happy and well adjusted than our materialistic society. I, however, am not saying that we should return to the primitive life, and I am not suggesting that a destruction of civilization and a return to those ancient times. What I am trying to say is that many of our current problems particularly on health issues, can best be understood when interpreted in the perspective of historical and anthropology.
Perhaps, some lifestyle changes can be made which will simplify our lives, improve our health, and at the same time permit continued enjoyment of high culture produced by several thousand years of civilization. What Is Health The dictionary defines “health” as “condition of a person’s body or mind”. (2) The World Health Organization of “health” as being “a state of complete physical, mental and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity”. (WHO, 1948, 1999).
Traditionally, in everyday use, and because of the longstanding emphasis in human health on illness, and because science has thus far relegated health to the biological disciplines, the state of the art conceptualization of health is that is primarily concerned with the body. (Ryff & Singer, 1998) (3) Thus, health has become inevitably defined negatively as the absence of physical illness, at least in a medical model. In contrast, health is currently broadly construed as continuum of holistic well-being in important life domains, including cognitive, emotional, spiritual, physical, social, occupational and ecological components.
Today, we know even more about what makes us healthy, and what harms our health. We know quite a bit about how the genes were born with affect our health. We know that eating well and staying fit is important. But in fact, our social and economic environment is probably the most important influence on our health. Our health is strongly associated with our opportunities to work, play, learn and contribute to our community. Our health is linked to where we live, how we care for each other, how much love, attention and stimulation we can give to our children and to our sense of belonging.
Factors Influencing Health Our health is certainly influenced by many factors, which include: genetic, biological, social, environment and lifestyle (Naidoo & Wills, 2000) (4) These factors have an impact in determining our health. That these factor combined together are significant. First, our genetic makeup influences our biological characteristics, innate temperament, activity level and susceptibility to specific disease such as diabetes, breast cancer. Secondly, biological factor is another important dimension in which disease is caused by bacteria or viruses.
Thirdly, social factor which connects with the membership of a particular social group such as age, sex, age, race and developmental level … etc. For example, chicken pox is predominant in childhood, elderly women are prone to osteoporosis, the blacks have predispositions to hypertension and adolescences like to engage in risk-taking behavior due to the need to conform with peers. Fourthly, environment plays a part in affecting our health.
Pollution, acid rain, greenhouse effect, radiation and ozone layer depletion … o new few are just a few environmental factors that have an impact on our health. Lastly, our lifestyle has a positive correlation to our health. For example, cigarette smoking probably causes more morbidity and excess mortality as smoking has been convincingly implicated as a contributing cause to chronic lung disease, various types of caner (especially lung), coronary heath disease and other circulatory ailments. We always have worked together to improve our health. Collective action is just as important today as it was two million years.
Almost a century ago, people took action and achieved reforms that greatly improved our health. They pushed to eliminate crowded housing. They fought for safe drinking water and better sanitation. They lobbied to end child labor and overlong working days. They pressed for health and safety laws and they helped to set up day nurseries for the children of working mothers. People are now more conscious of their health. Health programs have experienced an exponential increase during the last decade. The popularity of health programs comes from the merging public awareness of the value of preventive medicine.
Professionals such as general practitioner, nurse, midwifes, health visitor, physiotherapist, social worker are our first point of contact when we need advice, support or assistance when we face a health problem. These professionals often collaborate as a team to cater our health needs. They would form together as a primary health care team. The composition of any primary health care team will depend on circumstances particular to that group such as the overall aims of the team, and the needs of the practice population.
The team may also vary in its composition with regard to the needs of the individual client. Whereas one client may require the services of a general practitioner, another may see a physiotherapist or social worker. It is certainly that good teamwork is best achieved with 3-6 people and it is unlikely to be achieved with more than 12 people. Health care personnel in elderly residential home should focus on the role of every profession in a primary health care team. A Health Care Personnel’s Role In A Primary Health Team
Collaboration is a core aspect of professional practice, and inter-professional collaboration in an interdisciplinary/multidisciplinary context is important for effective services delivery. For example, nurse-social worker collaboration is derived from a combination of interdisciplinary collaboration model at the organizational and administrative levels and a case management intervention approach. Nurses and social workers are assumed to collaborate as equal partners in interdisciplinary team case management.
As residential setting health care workers, their primary role is to do psycho-social assessment, supportive counseling, an education advocating with multi-disciplinary team and community agencies on behalf of client, providing professional service to enhance the quality of life of the residents. They will work out an individual care plan and helping residents with various assistance. They will also provide supportive counseling and discuss “end of life” issues with palliative care residents and their families. When circumstances warrant, they will arrange family meeting where there can be multiple issues.
Traditional health care for older people has focused on illness diagnosis and management (Swenson, 1992) Although primary health care includes health promotion, health prevention, treatment and rehabilitation delivered by health care professionals, older people especially those with disabilities are often not included in health promotion program (Callahan, 2000; Resnick, 2000; Rimmer, 1999) Moreover, delivery of primary health care to older people is often compromised due to the provider’s lack of knowledge concerning old people and barriers to assessing health care services.
Health care personnel therefore would like to know that for those elderly residents staying in a residential setting, they need a variety of support to maintain or enhance their health status including control or remove deleterious risk factors and prevent chronic condition from deteriorating. This can be done through health promoting activity; for example smoking cessation program as smoking is a major risk factor for heart disease, stroke and cancer.
Health care personnel are all competent in launching promotion program on enhancing the quality of life through nutrition awareness, weight control program or exercise. Regarding health prevention, health care personnel can play their role as well. Simply, there are three levels of prevention; namely primary prevention (focuses on specific protection against disease), secondary prevention (emphasizes on early detection of disease and prompt intervention) and tertiary prevention (begins after an illness when a disability is stabilized).
At different levels, different approach can be used, and a wide variety of health prevention can also be launched at various settings as well such as school, workplace or health care organization. As to treatment, health care personnel might need to refer to the appropriate professionals such as doctors, nurses or physiotherapist for appropriate treatment. Lastly, rehabilitation programs have been designed to return the client who has suffered a debilitating disease and or surgery for example diabetes, or health disease to a quality of lifestyle and functional state of living.
Conclusion Health care in the 21st Century has seen a shift away from secondary care in favor of a primary care model. The challenges of health care are increasingly complex and subject to frequent changes. Meeting these changes requires that health professionals work in partnership with each other, with other professionals, and with clients and carers. In order to deliver an appropriate primary health care, professionals have to rely on each others’ skills and knowledge.
Primary health care workers need to know how to assess individuals, how to manage their care and how to encourage healthier lifestyle. As health care personnel, they can play an important role in influencing older people and in providing the support and encouragement they need to make healthy lifestyle choices and further their independence. Certainly primary health care means comprehensive, community-based services that are accessible to all.
Get help with your homework
We'll occasionally send you account related and promo emails