Healthy People 2020 is a program developed by the government that was launched November 2010. It was designed to improve peoples’ health nationwide, over the course of the next ten years. The three main goals of Healthy People 2020 are: for Americans to lead healthier lives, eliminate healthcare disparities, and to provide preventative health services to everybody. To successfully live healthier lives, individuals should be aware of personal existing diseases/illnesses, and treat health issues appropriately by medication, frequent lab work, and follow up appointments with doctors.
It is important that individuals with existing illnesses prevent further damage manage their current health status. The Healthy People 2020 website is informative and if utilized properly, an individual can research a number of different topics on how to improve/manage their health. The accessibility of healthcare services is an issue nationwide. Healthy People 2020 strives to see nationwide equality regardless of race; age, gender, existing illnesses, and socioeconomic status.
Preventative services have a strong priority for people that would like to improve their health. Prevention is the best way to avoid illness and diseases, but as stated on the website, “the absence of disease does not automatically equate to good health” (“Disparities,” 2010, para. 6). Healthy People 2020 has provided information for individuals to help find ways to gain the greatest level of health for all people. Some topics that can be found are links on nutrition, daily activity, community resources, management of existing conditions, safe housing, and health insurance.
As a working nurse on an acute behavioral health unit, substance abuse is often an issue with my patients and their addiction interferes in all areas of their lives. These patients come for inpatient acute care for a medical detoxification of their chosen substance. One goal of Healthy People 2020, specified for an individual that suffers from substance abuse, is to “reduce substance abuse to protect the health, safety, and quality of life for all, especially children” (“Substance Abuse,” 2010, figure 1). The department that I work for also treats patients that suffers from any behavioral health issues. In many cases, I find that my patients are often categorized with dual diagnosis. Dual diagnosis refers to an individual that struggles with chemical dependency and a mental health disorder. In some cases, it is found that when a person that starts a chemical dependency is often self-medicating the signs and symptoms of depression. Another goal set by Healthy People 2020 that directly affects the patients of my area of care is to, “improve mental health through prevention and by ensuring access to appropriate, quality mental health services” (“Mental Health,” 2010, figure 1). The patients that are admitted for inpatient services in my department are assessed in the emergency department and once medically cleared are then referred to us for further detoxification, pending health insurance clearance.
Three barriers that may be found for a patient and their families that come to St. Joseph Hospital of Orange, California seeking inpatient or outpatient treatment for substance abuse and/or mental illness would be: 1) health insurance, 2) income, and 3) transportation. In most cases with substance abuse and metal illness, the patients that are admitted for acute inpatient services, when stabilized, would be discharged with an after care plan for continued treatment on an outpatient basis. Coping skills are a major issue with behavior health patients. Because of this, an inpatient admission is useless without a plan of care for further rehabilitation in order to change current behaviors. Unfortunately at this time, St. Joseph Hospital does not provide inpatient services for those that are uninsured. This is a major problem with behavioral health patients. Fortunately, everyone, insured or uninsured, can be admitted to the emergency department when in crisis. If a patient requires further behavioral health treatment, health insurance verification is required in order to be admitted for inpatient care. Those that are unable to provide proof of health insurance are medically cleared, then transferred to an Orange County funded hospital/ treatment center or discharged. As a nurse, one main intervention for a patient that is discharged home is teaching/educating the family and most importantly the patient. I provide the patient with written and verbal discharge instructions and inform the patient of signs and symptoms of physiological crisis which often occurs with patients detoxing from certain substances. I also provide a list of free outpatient services available in the area that assists individuals in become substance free.
Patients that do have insurance may not always have the income needed to be medication compliant after an inpatient hospitalization. It is often found that a patient that is non-medication compliant will have periods of relapse and require hospitalization. An intervention I can provide to the patients that cannot afford the cost of medication is to inform, provide a list of pharmacies that sell generic medication at a lower cost, or instruct the patient to contact the prescribing doctor to change the medication to a type of medication that is covered by the insurance company. Along with discharge instructions I will also educate the patient on the importance of follow up care and attending all appointments as planned to have continued sobriety. For patients receiving alcohol detoxification, transportation is an issue due to lack of funds or support system. In some cases, legal issues that have lead them to no longer be able to drive due to suspended license. In cases like this, fortunately St. Joseph Hospital outpatient program provides transportation to those in need. Some insurance companies will also provide transport to and from necessary treatment.
Healthy People 2020 has ambitious goals for individuals nationwide. The government strives for equality of health care for all people regardless of race, age, ethnicity, and socioeconomic status. With this website, individuals have the tools needed to be able to manage existing health conditions and position themselves to prevent illness and diseases. It is up to the individual to be proactive and utilize all that is readily available to them. Healthy People 2020 is a good place for people nationwide to begin the search on how to become healthier in all aspects of their lives, both physically and mentally.