There are three different levels of health promotion that progress from educating those who are well to those who are ill. Each phase of prevention helps determine the level of education a patient needs. The focus of prevention moves from community wide to patient specific as it progresses from prevention and and identification of risk factors to prevention of disease progression.
The primary phase works with the community on broad topics of health, such as, vaccinations, hygiene, nutrition, and community fitness programs. This phase does not necessarily require active participation. An example of a passive primary health prevention method would be the addition of Fluoride to drinking water to prevent tooth decay or the free vaccinations given at the public Health Department.
Once the level of prevention moves to secondary health promotion, a person is actively seeking information about their health. The education at this level begins with health screenings for those at risk for disease and the early detection of disease to prevent further damage. This would include mobile mammograms or health education classes for those identified with pre-diabetic conditions. The focus is moved from a broad one to one that is more individualized.
The next level of health promotion is the tertiary level. In this level, the individual has an active advanced disease process that requires education and rehabilitation in order for the individual to return to daily activities. This would include the patient who has had a heart attack, cerebral vascular accident, or the diabetic that now requires insulin. The focus is individualized and focused on the prevention of further disability (Falkner, 2018).
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (2019) has funded several programs that work within each level of health promotion. For example, their program Paul Coverdell National Acute Stroke Program works through all three levels. They increased education on stroke risks in the community and improved the quality of stroke care. This education moved stroke from the third to the fifth leading cause of death.
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (2019). Division for heart disease and stroke prevention at a glance. Retrieved from https://www.cdc.gov/chronicdisease/resources/publications/aag/heart-disease-stroke.htm
Falkner, A. (2018) Health promotion in nursing care. In Grand Canyon University (Eds.), Health promotion: health and wellness across the continuum. Retrieved from https://lc.gcumedia.com/nrs429vn/health-promotion-health-and-wellness-across-the-continuum/v1.1/#/chapter/2
In an effort to ensure health promotion, certain preventive strategies are considered to include; primary, secondary and tertiary and each of them has their own respective place in the health promotion process. Through the primary prevention level, illnesses and injuries are prevented through vaccination and wellness exams to help prevent contraction of illness. Besides, it also includes health promotion and education intervention that empower patients to make healthy decisions on a daily basis. Secondary prevention focusses on the early detection and treatment of disease processes before they cause damage and it’s executed through health screenings and early treatment. The goal is to prevent progression of early stages of disease and comorbidities. Lastly, the tertiary prevention level occurs when a disease process has caused permanent damage and the focus is to aid the patient achieve some normalcy so that they can acclimate back into their lives and society (Falkner, 2018).
Comparably, these three levels of prevention are all inter-linked to enhance health promotion. Through these levels a nurse is able to determine the patient’s needs and act appropriately to prevent deterioration from one level to other. Also, effecting these levels requires collaboration from different multidisciplinary members to ensure quality of care within the healthcare system. On the contrary, these levels differ from each other as primary level focusses on those on those who are well, secondary level aims at those at risk of a health problem and lastly tertiary level focusses on those with health problems. The setup also differs as management through the levels can be either done at home, in the hospital or in the community. (Falkner, 2018)
Nurses play a significant role in determining education needs for patients throughout the three levels of prevention. For example, through assessment at the primary level a nurse is able to understand an individual’s perception of health and illness and factors that influence both aspects. It is from such gathered information that the nurse is able to identify ways to eliminate barriers to effective education. At the secondary level using EBP to teach patients about their conditions helps them to disregard unhealthy habits and embrace healthy lifestyles. Lastly, through the tertiary level, a nurse is able to advocate for resources that may be needed by the patient at home for daily functioning. Conclusively, through these levels, different needs are met through the gained skills and knowledge of the nurse to enhance health promotion among individual and communities. Seemingly, available programs through CDC, American Academic of Pediatrics and John Hopkins Medicine among others provide ways through which prevention and screening of illnesses can be done so as to promote ultimate healthy living.
Falkner, A. (2018). In GCU’s Health Promotion: Health and Wellness Across the Continuum. Retrieved from