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Three Levels of Prevention

By jruiz36 Jun 10, 2013 742 Words
Three Levels of Prevention
Promotion of health and disease prevention is an important factor in health care. There are three levels of prevention: primary, secondary, and tertiary. Primary prevention refers to interventions that promote optimal health and prevent the occurrence of disease, injury, or disability. Primary prevention advocates health promotion. Primary prevention includes health promotion, environmental protection, and specific protection against disease or injury. In primary prevention, health promotion includes education in many forms such as nutrition and sex education. Counseling, family planning, and the promotion of physical activity are other forms of health promotion. Environmental protection includes sanitation, air quality control, and food, workplace, and home safety. Specific protection against disease or injury includes preventions such as immunizations, use of seatbelts and infants’ car seats, preconception folic acid supplementation, and reduction of human exposure to carcinogenic agents (Stanhope & Lancaster, 2010). The second level of prevention refers to education that will allow prevention or allow a patient that has a disease to have early diagnosis, which can allow time to cure the disease. Health screenings are at the core of secondary prevention and are very important. Blood pressure screenings, screening for breast can using mammograms for example are secondary forms of prevention. Usually secondary prevention takes place in community settings (Stanhope & Lancaster, 2010). The final level of prevention includes interventions that limit disability or interventions that enhance rehabilitation from disease, injury, or disability. For example if a patient has elevated blood pressures that were not controlled by diet and exercise then the patient may be referred to a doctor medication and received referrals for other specialist such as a cardiologist. Examples of tertiary prevention are medical treatment, physical and occupational therapy, and rehabilitation (Stanhope & Lancaster, 2010).

Migrant Farmworkers and the Three Levels of Prevention

Agriculture is one of the most hazardous occupations in the U.S. This population suffers from the highest rate of toxic chemicals. According to the Environmental Protection Agency it is estimated that 300,000 farm workers suffer from pesticide poisoning every year. Furthermore, by inhaling and working with these toxic chemicals they are at risk for many respiratory issues which include asthma, allergies, pneumonitis, chronic bronchitis, asphyxiation, and emphysema. Most housing does not provide laundry facilities which cause the migrant worker to wash their clothes in the same sink where food is prepared or in the bathtub that is used by the family. The (Hansen & Donohoe, 2003). According to the Occupational Safety and Health Act workers must have a safe and healthful work environment (). Primary Prevention

Provide education on prevention, detection, and treatment in their homes and workplace (Hansen & Donohoe, 2003). Secondary Prevention

Health surveillance and periodic screening to identify pesticide levels at the earliest

possible moment and elimination or modification of the hazard-producing situation (Stanhope &

Lancaster, 2010).

Tertiary Prevention

Develop plan with the family and employer to promote hand hygiene and improve bathroom facilities in the workplace. Theoretical Model
Honor Society of Nursing Sigma Theta Tau International, defines evidence-based nursing as “an integration of the best evidence available, nursing expertise, and the values and preferences of the individuals, families, and communities who are served” (Stanhope, & Lancaster, 2010, p. 179). With evidenced-based practice nurses use the best available evidence, research and experience to provide optimal nursing care. There are many important aspects of evidenced-based practice that make it one of the best conceptual frameworks. Research is critical in evidenced-based practice. Evidenced-based practice uses sample selection, randomization, blinding, sample size, description of intervention, outcomes, length of follow-up, attrition, confounding variables, and statistical analysis to provide the best information. Implementation will be successful when nurses practice in an environment that provides evidence-based care (Stanhope, & Lancaster, 2010, p. 179). The three questions that were asked were “What are major health problems in the community” (Stanhope & Lancaster, 2010, p. 9), “What services are available” (Stanhope & Lancaster, 2010, p. 9), and “What services need to be provided but are unavailable” (Stanhope & Lancaster, 2010, p. 9)?


Hansen, E., & Donohoe, M. (2003). Health issues of migrant and seasonal farmworkers. Journal of Health Care for the Poor and Underserved, 14(2), 153-64. Retrieved from

Nies, M. A., & McEwen, M. (2011). Community/Public health nursing: Promoting the health of

populations. (5th ed.). St. Louis, MO: Elsevier/Saunders.

Stanhope, M., & Lancaster, J. (2010). Foundations of nursing in the community: Community-

oriented practice. (3rd ed.). St. Louis, MO: Mosby/Elsevier.

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