Health Needs Assessment

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Public health has the interests of the public at its core. According to the Department of Health (DoH) (2012) Public health is concerned with prevention and therefore encourages people to ‘stay healthy’ and ‘avoid getting ill’.

Health visitors work at the heart of the family to have a positive impact on the future of the child by preventing diseases and identifying any health or social problems early (Carter, 2011) A Heath Visitor offers a service available to all families that primarily delivers ‘the core offer’ (DoH, 2011). This incorporates ‘the healthy child programme’ (DoH, 2009) promoting public health by ensuring each child under 5 receives the necessary health and development checks, essential immunisations and a contactable service to offer advice for the family should they require. Hall and Elliman (2002) discuss ‘health for all children’ by suggesting the recommendations are delivered by using preventative health care and health promotion to each child within a community. If a families or individual’s needs require additional intervention from the core offer it continues to remain the Health Visitors role to assess the needs and deliver accordingly utilising skills of either themselves or acting as a gateway to other members from the Multi-disciplinary team. Acquiring the additional support means the Health visitor must increase their offer, as recommended by the DoH (2011). The family or family member will only receive this offer from the Health Visitor whilst they continue to require further input.

The Marmot review (2010) identified that health inequalities are largely preventable. It is also concerned with the matter of public health being the responsibility of the NHS and local government. The NMC (2006) state that the public health nurse should manage projects to improve health and well being. This contributes to the necessity of a health needs assessment. A health need can be described as a need that, if met, should result in the improvement of people’s health (Hyde, 2001). A health needs assessment is a systematic approach to examine the health issues of a population (Hooper and Longworth, 2002) with an ultimate aim to improve health, leading to a reduction in health inequality (Cavanagh and Chadwick, 2005). This work intends to demonstrate how the author has carried a health needs assessment in her practice area and intends to implement new improvement initiations (Robotham and Frost, 2005). In order to facilitate the assessment, the use of a framework will be adopted; it is the same framework that NICE (2005) recommend and is taken from Cavanagh and Chadwick’s (2005) ‘health needs assessment practical guide’.

Step 1-Getting Started

The health needs assessment is based within the practice area of a district on the outskirts of a city. The area is a largely rural area which comprises a sparse population of approximately 106,000 people (Association of Public Health Observations (2009), DoH, 2009).

|Area |Mid 2009 |Mid 2010 |Change |Change (%) |Average Annual Change | | |Population Estimate |Population Estimate |(persons) | |2000 -2010 (%) | | |59,000 |59,000 |0 |0.0 |0.7 | | |140,800 |141,600 |800 |0.6 |1.0 | |Near by City |88,500 |89,700 |1,200 |1.4 |0.6 | |Concerned area |105,700 |106,400 |700 |0.7 |1.5 | | |84,100 |84,600 |500 |0.6 |1.2...
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