The health and general well-being of citizens should always be a priority for local authorities. It is hard to deny that it is not enough to give people equal access to the healthcare sector. Besides making the healthcare system simple and available for patients, it is also important to control the overall condition of a community and prevent possible diseases, such as tuberculosis. Certain groups of citizens, for example, pregnant women, children, and older people, also require special attention. All these activities can be described by the term community health nursing. In this essay, this notion will be studied from different perspectives, and special attention will be paid to home care services and related difficulties.
To begin with, it is important to define the term community health nursing and the role of this medical activity. According to Nies and McEwen (2018), community health is connected with “organized health efforts at the community level through both government and private efforts” (p. 6). The companies involved in maintaining community health are “privately funded agencies” (Nies, & McEwen, 2018, p. 6).
Community nurses are medical specialists and representatives of such organizations. They are responsible for addressing the needs of families, groups of people, and individuals in the community. It is important to understand that community health nurses do not work separately from other care services. They collaborate with epidemiologists, health officers, and professionals, who educate people about health issues (Nies & McEwen, 2018). To sum up, they monitor public health conditions and solve community medical problems that may occur.
Community health nurses work in different settings: in a hospital, a medical clinic, or patients’ homes. As emphasized by Linton and Matteson (2019), home medical assistance provides a “more direct care to patients” (p. 11). Home nurses analyze the environment of the patient and collect data about home conditions and family members while constantly observing the patient’s medical state. It is important to emphasize that one of the most significant activities of home nurses is educating the patient’s family members about how to take care of their ill relatives.
Many people can be overwhelmed by the responsibility of helping patients, and the task of a community nurse is to provide them with all the necessary information. They teach family members how to adapt home conditions to patient’s requirements, explain their actions, and give detailed instructions in acute cases (Linton & Matteson, 2019). Such practice helps both patients and their families feel more confident and prevents patients from possible health deterioration.
Unfortunately, even though community home nursing is efficient, it may also face certain barriers, and some communities are unable to initiate this kind of care due to several reasons. First of all, home nursing requires financial resources (for example, for specialized medical equipment) that sometimes cannot be provided. There is also a limited number of days and hours per week that can be covered by medical organizations (Linton & Matteson, 2019). At the same time, many patients need continuous and permanent treatment and observation, which cannot be provided in some communities due to the lack of finance or personnel. It can be suggested that local authorities need to develop a plan aimed at improving the overall home nursing system and define the budget to be spent on home care services.
Another vital issue that influences access to home care services is whether the patent lives in an urban or rural area. Home care services in urban areas are more available, as all the most important medical centers are located in populated cities. It takes long lime for nurses to reach patients in rural areas, which can be essential in acute cases. At the same time, the living conditions in rural areas are not as developed as in large cities, and patients from villages and small towns require special attention to healthcare services (Stanhope & Lancaster, 2017).
The incomes of people living in rural areas are often lower than average salaries of city dwellers, and not every ruralist can afford to pay for home care. Another problem is that insufficient resources are spent on the development of home care services in rural areas rather than in large cities (Stanhope & Lancaster, 2017). To sum up, local authorities need to reconsider their healthcare policy in terms of the availability of medical services and make them more accessible for people living outside big cities.
In conclusion, it is possible to say that community health nursing is a complicated and integrated system that needs to be reviewed from different perspectives. Home care services are developing today, as a treatment in home settings has certain advantages over hospital stay. At the same time, some barriers connected with home care remain unsolved. Local authorities need to develop a plan to eliminate specific problems, such as a shortage of financial resources, insufficient service time, and non-availability of home care in rural areas. In this case, they would be able to maintain the general well-being in communities effectively.
Linton, A.D., & Matteson, M. A. (2019). Medical-surgical nursing. Milton, Canada: Elsevier.
Nies, M.A., & McEwen, M. (2018). Community/public health nursing: Promoting the health of populations. Milton, Canada: Elsevier.
Stanhope, M., & Lancaster, J. (2017). Foundations for population health in community/public health nursing. Milton, Canada: Elsevier.