Should Preventive Health Care Services Receive the Same Level of Financing as Illness Health Care?
Financial policies in health care are largely predetermined by existing budgetary procedures, regulatory acts, the network of budget recipients, and historically established priorities in the allocation of resources. Every area and stage of health care provision requires relevant funding to assure public health. However, a higher level of financing of preventive health care services in comparison with funding of illness health care will entail multiple socioeconomic benefits.
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The orientation towards preventing the occurrence and minimizing the incidence of diseases is considered to be one of the overriding priorities of health care systems. The given fact is in line with the domain of preventive care that encompasses an integrated system of state, social, hygienic, and medical measures aimed at ensuring high levels of public health and preventing diseases. Furthermore, adequate financing will allow reducing high rates of preventable mortality registered today (Enthoven, 2016). The feasibility of preventive interventions and screening will provide better outcomes for patients with chronic diseases, like diabetes, cancer, cardiovascular diseases, and so forth.
Increased expenditure on preventive care and services will generate possibilities for promoting and encouraging healthy lifestyles (Enthoven, 2016). Medical professionals involved in preventive care will be able to enhance and reinforce initiatives aimed at educating populations about keeping healthy diets, avoiding tobacco smoking, reducing alcohol consumption, and exercising regularly. These preventive practices will decrease individuals’ health problems and the need for costly medical interventions (Enthoven, 2016).
Extra financing of preventive care is required to ensure prophylactic immunization and vaccination of all demographic strata. These preventive interventions will reduce populations’ vulnerability to pathogenic agents of communicable diseases. Given a great number of uninsured individuals, higher financing will allow covering all population segments with vaccination.
Summing up, increased financing of preventive care should be evaluated as eligible investments in public health and the key factor of improving the effectiveness of health care provision.
Nurses as Patient Advocates
A prerequisite for high-quality medical care is the proper level of patients rights enforcement. According to Choi (2015), today, the multidimensional concept of patient advocacy involves nurses’ responsibilities for safeguarding patients’ autonomy, protecting their rights, values, and benefits, assuring patient safety, ensuring social justice in access to health care, and serving as intermediaries between patients and others (p. 54). Thus, being guided by their ethical code and standards of practice, nurses should act as patients’ advocates to ensure the full realization of their rights.
However, sometimes, nurses’ insufficient level of legal literacy and inappropriate patient awareness of their rights entail some risks associated with the concept of patient advocacy. What is more, advocating their patients’ rights, nurses strive to minimize threats to patient safety through incident reporting and whistleblowing practices. Although these approaches are effective in error prevention, they can “have detrimental effects on nurses, both personally and professionally” (Choi, 2015, p. 56). Specifically, while nurses’ attitudes are aimed at protecting patient autonomy and well-being, they can generate intra-team conflicts and blame for disrespect or disloyalty to colleagues. Damaged relationships and negative responses to patient advocacy can evoke feelings of fear, guilt, or helplessness in nurses (Choi, 2015).
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Nevertheless, the benefits of patient advocacy exceed possible risks. Reporting incidents and rejecting wrongful assignments that can put patients at risk for harm and inadequate care, nurses ensure patient safety and preclude malpractices in their health care settings. Definitely, improved patient outcomes are the most rewarding nursing experiences. In addition, full-fledged provision of patient advocacy boosts the reputation of medical institutions. Furthermore, such nurses’ attitudes correspond to current requirements for medical aid delivery specified in the topic area “Access to Health Services” of Healthy People 2020.
Summing up, despite some possible risks, nurses should develop patient advocacy practices because they lead to a higher quality of health care and improved patient outcomes.
Choi, P. P. (2015). Patient advocacy: The role of the nurse. Nursing Standard, 29(41), 52-58.
Enthoven, A. C. (2016). What is an integrated health care financing and delivery system (IDS)? and What must would-be IDS accomplish to become competitive with them. Health Economics & Outcome Research: Open Access, 2(2), 1-9.