Topic Identification and Rationale
There is hardly a person who has never heard of someone complaining about high blood pressure. A periodic or continuous high blood pressure, also known as hypertension, is detected in 29 percent of the US adult population, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention evaluation (High Blood Pressure Facts, 2015). Approximately nine out of ten cases compose primary hypertension. In other cases, an increase in pressure develops on the basis of diseases of other organs, mostly kidneys, endocrine glands, and lungs. Untreated hypertension leads to disruption of the work of many organs and body systems (Campbell et al., 2012). In particular, it increases the risk of such diseases as myocardial infarction and stroke. As a result, the deteriorating quality of life and reduced performance occur.
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The majority of countries develop national programs to prevent and combat hypertension, and many pharmaceutical laboratories elaborate more and more efficient and safe drugs to control blood pressure. Discomfort associated with an increase in blood pressure includes such symptoms as ringing in the ears, headaches, and other symptoms that largely coincide with the usual signs of fatigue (Nadar & Lip, 2009). Most of the patients, seeing the deterioration of their health, try to deal with it in different ways yet unsuccessfully. They do not even think about blood pressure and do not realize the real dangers of hypertension. Therefore, doctors call hypertension an “invisible killer” as too often, it is diagnosed only by emergency care specialists (Nadar & Lip, 2009). At the same time, high blood pressure does not require sophisticated diagnostics and can be found during the ordinary medical examination. If treatment is started on time, the majority of patients are amenable to the improvement of their health. Taking into account the above facts, it becomes evident that there is a need for appropriate education of people aimed at hypertension prevention and treatment.
In the context of the need for comprehensive hypertension prevention, it is beneficial to provide education among the three following audiences: patients, family, and medical staff. Let us identify each group of potential learners in detail.
First, patients are the primary audience to be educated to improve their health. It goes without saying that there are some factors that do not depend on patients. For example, heredity, sex, or environmental pollution cannot be corrected by them. However, others might be successfully improved, including proper eating habits to prevent obesity or alcohol and smoking avoidance that leads to hypertension might be implemented by patients (Daskalopoulou et al., 2012). Moreover, adequate physical exercises, as well as psychological relief, are undoubtedly a good way to cope with high blood pressure. The paramount issue is that it is the patient who is responsible for all the above measures.
Second, family support plays an integral part in combat with hypertension. In the beginning, it might be quite difficult for patients to change their lifestyle. Family members might help them both psychologically and physically (Diaz & Shimbo, 2013). For example, it is useful to spent evenings playing some active games or visiting the gym. Also, if the whole family would change their eating habits, namely, avoid fast food and eat more vegetables, it would be easier for the patient to adjust to a new lifestyle. It is important to strengthen the patient’s motivation and progress.
Third, medical personnel also should be educated to provide high-quality health care for patients with hypertension as well as for those who are at risk of its development. Staff can critically evaluate the patients’ health and conduct medical intervention that would reduce high blood pressure (Daskalopoulou et al., 2012). Furthermore, psychological assistance also might be required to provide. Sometimes, patients suffering from hypertension tend to fall into depression, losing hope. The principal role of the caregivers is to avoid it. They should personally communicate with the patients talking to them and carefully listening to their requirements and complaints.
In order to educate patients, the following goals should be accomplished:
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- Raising awareness of the disease and its risk factors in hypertensive patients;
- Increasing the responsibility for health maintaining;
- Shaping self-management of health status and provision of the first aid in cases of exacerbations and crises;
- Developing skills and abilities to reduce the adverse impact of the behavioral risk factors (nutrition, physical activity, stress management, and harmful habits);
- Shaping practical skills to analyze the causes affecting health;
- Teaching patients the basics of blood pressure self-monitoring tools and self-help skills in pre-hospital circumstances;
- Teaching the basics of a healthy diet and obesity as a risk factor for hypertension development.
The patient’s family members should be educated according to the following criteria:
- to measure blood pressure and heart rate;
- to recognize the first signs of hypertensive crisis;
- to provide pre-hospital care in the case of hypertensive crisis;
- to know relaxation techniques and their application in a stressful situation.
Staff improvement should include such aspects as follows:
- Optimize, improve, and increase coverage and access to quality medical care for patients with hypertension;
- Conduct a conversation with the patient and his or her family to follow a diet;
- Teach the patient relaxation techniques to relieve tension and anxiety;
- Inform the patient about the effects of smoking and alcohol on blood pressure;
- Tell the patient about the action of drugs prescribed by the attending physician to persuade him or her of the necessity of systematic and prolonged reception;
- Conduct a conversation about the possible complications of hypertension;
- Monitor the patient’s body weight and diet adherence;
- Educate the patient’s family.
The patients suffering from hypertension and people at risk usually experience a lack of knowledge concerning their disease. Only a few of them lead a healthy lifestyle following the mentioned restrictions. Therefore, this audience might be assessed as insufficiently educated. However, their readiness to learn serves as a stimulus to become healthier. In this connection, the identified group should receive all the required information and assistance to increase their educational level in hypertension prevention. Likewise, the patients’ families might be evaluated as lacking experience and education. Occasionally, people even do not understand how to help their family member to handle hypertensive crises.
Speaking of the medical staff’s developmental level, it is essential to stress that nurses should follow continuous learning strategy. To remain professional, they should improve their theoretical knowledge and practical skills. It can be concluded that the role of the nurse in the prevention of hypertension and the prevention of complications is crucial. If the nurse did not explain the patient and his family that it is significant to monitor blood pressure, maintain a diet, and lead an active life, the patients themselves are unlikely to reflect on the importance of these activities. Consequently, it is apparent that the education of this audience is relevant.
Theoretical Basis for Teaching Approaches
The paramount purpose of a theoretical basis is to impact the patients’ behavior changing it for the better. Health care providers act in the role of educators, yet they also need to be educated first. Theories explaining human behavior might be used to teach the identified audiences. Among theories that might be applied to teach patients, their families, and staff include the Health Belief Model, locus of control theory, stress and coping theory, adult learning theory, and others.
In this lesson, however, it is the most appropriate to use the Health Belief Model due to its high emotional and psychological influence. The patients’ willingness to seek help from a doctor or give up the habit depends on the two key factors: the degree of awareness of health risks and the belief that certain behavior will reduce this threat (Barros et al., 2014). The Health Belief Model explains the reluctance of many people to follow the rules of behavior that reduce the risk of dangerous illness or accident. They simply do not believe the threat is real and, therefore, do not want to change their behavior. For the same reason, many other people do not give up bad habits such as smoking, for example. They do not believe that such a failure will greatly reduce the threat to their well-being. This theory helps to realize that the risk is serious and consequences might be unpreventable (Barros et al., 2014). As a result, the patients and their families will believe and understand that the disease might be managed through eliminating several barriers to health improvement. In addition, this theory benefits staff. For example, knowing whether the patient is aware of risk factors or not, it is possible to design relevant education and intervention programs.
Barros, A. A., Guedes, M. V., Moura, D. D., Menezes, L. C., Aguiar, L. L., & Xavier, G. A. (2014). Health behaviors of people with hypertension: Health belief model. Revista Da Rede De Enfermagem Do Nordeste, 15(3), 525-532.
Campbell, N., Young, E. R., Drouin, D., Legowski, B., Adams, M. A., Farrell, J.,… Tobe, S. (2012). A Framework for Discussion on How to Improve Prevention, Management, and Control of Hypertension in Canada. Canadian Journal of Cardiology, 28(3), 262-269.
Daskalopoulou, S. S., Khan, N. A., Quinn, R. R., Ruzicka, M., Mckay, D. W., Hackam, D. G.,… Tobe, S. W. (2012). The 2012 Canadian Hypertension Education Program Recommendations for the Management of Hypertension: Blood Pressure Measurement, Diagnosis, Assessment of Risk, and Therapy. Canadian Journal of Cardiology, 28(3), 270-287.
Diaz, K. M., & Shimbo, D. (2013). Physical Activity and the Prevention of Hypertension. Current Hypertension Reports, 15(6), 659-668.
High Blood Pressure Facts. (2015). Web.
Nadar, S., & Lip, G. Y. (2009). Hypertension. New York, NY: Oxford University Press.