Instructions: Response must be at least 310 words written in current APA format with at least two academic references cited. References must be within the last five years. Response must extend, refute/correct, or add additional nuance.
Regardless of practice specialty or location, all healthcare professionals can take action to promote community health. A key first step to promoting community health is to be aware of the specific needs of the population served. Once a patient’s specific needs are established, then practices can be aligned with meeting those goals. Healthy People 2030 is a government initiative to improve the health of the nation and offers guidance for healthcare professionals on how to meet various national health objectives. Data is obtained and shared so healthcare professionals can view other successful programs, policies, and interventions (Office of Disease Prevention & Promotion, n.d.). By examining this data, an organization can assess if they are reaching the targets and can adjust their care delivery practices accordingly to meet the goals.
An important action to take to ensure community health promotion is for healthcare professionals to be adequately trained on cultural awareness. When understanding a patient’s culture is not a part of providing healthcare, it reduces the ability of a provider to deliver optimal care. A study done on a veteran’s healthcare interprofessional team that received education on military culture showed that increasing their knowledge led to improved attitudes and compassion towards the veterans they served (Brommelsiek et al., 2018). Better patient outcomes will result when staff have more adequate cultural competencies and can apply those to completing more thorough patient assessments. Developing the most effective treatment plan to reach a patient’s goals requires healthcare professionals to be adequately aware of their needs and how their culture impacts their healthcare decisions and actions. Another key action is to ensure patient educational information is available at a health literacy level that all patients can understand, and in numerous languages. Providing translation services when needed will also reduce any barriers that patients in the community whose first language is not English might face.
Stronger care coordination practices are also needed to improve community health. A patient’s health problems can be directly affected by their personal and financial situation. A healthcare professional understanding this and working to make appropriate community referrals is needed to improve a patient’s outcomes. An effective strategy to promote positive health outcomes is to link patients with necessary community services to obtain secure housing, jobs, and childcare and include a case manager in the patient’s interdisciplinary healthcare team.
Another action to promote community health is by expanding the community healthcare workforce and increasing the competency of such workers. Many states are developing stronger policies to support the community health workforce but more needs to be done. States must consider how and if additional grants and funding from Medicaid can support the expansion of additional training needed for community workers. Research conducted on community health efforts in Louisiana revealed that an increased understanding of specific community health problems such as HIV, mental health, and diabetes is needed. An idea proposed to improve the competency and recognition of community health workers is to advocate for a certification in the various areas of healthcare that they work in (Sugarman et al., 2021). Expanding education on community health topics and providing healthcare professionals with an opportunity to become certified will lead to enhanced and expert delivery of care which will produce more positive patient outcomes