The field of public health has evolved to include community-focused interventions. This gradual transformation has led to the development of the idea of community health, which plays a key role in determining the overall well-being of society. For instance, in America, the establishment of state-level health initiatives steered by the Congress and the execution of innovative agendas that seek to promote societies’ well-being characterize community health. Despite challenges, including language barriers, cultural differences, and inadequate networks and personnel, this paper presents the community health nurse as a key stakeholder whose input determines the effectiveness of society-centered initiatives and home-based services in rural and urban areas.
The Role of the Community Health Nurse
According to Goodman, Bunnell, and Posner (2014), a community health nurse works collaboratively with community members, governmental authorities, and scholars, among other interested partners. Specifically, this health official leads the above team to establish evidence-based initiatives that emphasize the need for safeguarding communities against elements that subject their health to risks (Goodman et al., 2014).
Meghea et al. (2013) further present a community health nurse as an individual who travels from one home to another, assessing people’s health, especially at-risk women and children, before recommending an intervention that best addresses any identified issues. In particular, this official “promotes health among hard-to-reach women who often have barriers to care, are reluctant to interact with professionals, and engage in risky behaviors” (Meghea et al., 2013, p. 28). A community health nurse suggests the appropriate preventive mechanisms, which communities can implement to manage health issues associated with stress, smoking, and even depression.
How a Community Health Nurse Helps Patients’ Families in their Settings
As earlier mentioned, family members have to cope with stress and depression that result from their patients’ conditions (Meghea et al., 2013). For instance, some patients are in constant pain, which may never be treated, irrespective of the number of finances spent in this course. Such a realization interferes with relatives’ peace of mind. Hence, a community health nurse plays a huge role in recommending effective home-based stress management strategies.
According to Kemppainen, Tossavainen, and Turunen (2013), community health nurses empower patients’ relatives, for instance, by suggesting therapeutic procedures, which they can conduct on patients, to facilitate their recovery processes in their settings. This strategy is in line with a community health official’s objective of ensuring that the public participates in promoting the well-being of the wider society while in the comfort of their dwellings. Consequently, although such home care services have been effective in boosting patients’ recovery rates, it is crucial to examine various obstacles that interfere with the realization of their full potential.
Barriers Related to Home Care Services in Communities
The goal of community health nurses is to execute home care services that can help families to manage their patients’ medical conditions without the need to go to hospitals. These home-based services have been recommended for aging patients, including those suffering from chronic diseases. As revealed in a study by Suurmond, Rosenmöller, El Mesbahi, Lamkaddem, and Essink-Bot (2016), language barriers and the lack of sufficient connections with community health officials interfere with the initiation of home care services among aged ethnic minority people.
This challenge is common in culturally diverse regions where the deployed community health nurses are not conversant with the prevailing languages and beliefs (Heydari, Shahsavari, Hazini, & Nasrabadi, 2016). Hence, the effectiveness of home care services ends up being compromised due to communication problems among patients, their family members, and community health practitioners.
Moreover, the success of home care services is dependent on the degree to which patients and their relatives can access a network of community health nurses (Suurmond et al., 2016). In this case, relying on a single health official may interfere with the efficient initiation of these programs, especially when such a person cannot be available whenever needed. In addition, some patients have their preferred informal home care services requirements.
This situation makes it difficult for community health agents to implement programs that best deal with the respective patient’s health conditions. According to Heydari et al. (2016), issues such as the inaccessibility of the appropriate equipment and insufficient human resources also destabilize the smooth initiation of home care services.
Living in Urban vs. Rural Areas
Patients’ locations influence the efficacy of home care services. For instance, those living in rural areas may experience compromised services due to the lack of inadequate community health nurses (Heydari et al., 2016). The available ones may be required to travel long distances to their targeted patients, hence failing to offer timely services. In addition, patients in rural areas may not benefit from efficient emergency home services due to the inaccessibility of the appropriate machinery required to facilitate their healing.
On the contrary, home care services in urban areas are effective because patients are exposed to a wide range of community health nurses’ networks (Suurmond et al., 2016). As a result, they are guaranteed medical attention at any given time of day. Contrary to what is observed in rural regions, many patients in urban areas do not experience pronounced language barriers that may undermine the delivery of home care services because they can communicate almost fluently with community health nurses.
Community health nurses ensure that people’s well-being is not exposed to life-threatening elements. These officials work in partnership with the public, government agencies, and scholars to avail scientifically proven services to various communities. However, insufficient equipment, language barriers, and inadequate workforce undermine the efficiency of home care services, which they oversee. This situation is found to be worse among patients in rural areas, as opposed to those in urban regions.
Goodman, R. A., Bunnell, R., & Posner, S. F. (2014). What is “community health”? Examining the meaning of an evolving field in public health. Preventive Medicine, 67(1), 58-61. Web.
Heydari, H., Shahsavari, H., Hazini, A., & Nasrabadi, A. N. (2016). Exploring the barriers of home care services in Iran: A qualitative study. Scientifica, 2016, 1-6. Web.
Kemppainen, V., Tossavainen, K., & Turunen, H. (2013). Nurses’ roles in health promotion practice: An integrative review. Health Promotion International, 28(4), 490–501. Web.
Meghea, C. I., Li, B., Zhu, Q., Raffo, J. E., Lindsay, J. K., Moore, J. S., & Roman, L. A. (2013). Infant health effects of a nurse community health worker home visitation program: A randomized controlled trial. Child: Care, Health & Development, 39(1), 27-35. Web.
Suurmond, J., Rosenmöller, D. L., El Mesbahi, H., Lamkaddem, M., & Essink-Bot, M. L. (2016). Barriers in access to home care services among ethnic minority and Dutch elderly – A qualitative study. International Journal of Nursing Studies, 54, 23-35. Web.