Lesson 1, Topic 1
In Progress

Health Care Delivery Systems

May 1, 2021

Health Care Delivery Systems

LPN/LVNs practice within the health care delivery system as a whole. To achieve their greatest potenĀ­tial, nurses must be aware of the complexity of this system and the vital role that nursing plays in its functioning.

Health Care System Defined

The health care system consists of a network of agencies, facilities, and providers involved with health care in a specified geographic area. Many categories of health care professionals operate within this system, including the LPN/LVN. This health care environment includes the patient, the patient’s family, the community in which the system operates, technology, governmental and regulatory agencies, the medical profession, third-party participants (e.g., insurance companies), and many other forces that affect the patient’s care. The major goal of the system is to achieve optimal levels of health care for a defined population. The means of achieving this goal is provision of adequate and appropriate health care services. The LPN/LVN is an integral member of the team of health care professionals who provide these services within the scope of practice as defined by the state’s nurse practice act.

Wellness-Illness Continuum

The range of a person’s total health is described along the wellness-illness continuum. One’s position on this continuum is ever changing and is influenced by the individual’s physical condition, mental condition, and social well-being. At one end of the spectrum is wellness (a dynamic state of health in which an individual progresses toward a higher level of functioning, achieving an optimal balance between internal and external environment). Wellness represents the highest level of optimal health. Illness, at the opposite end of the spectrum, represents a diminished or impaired state of health (Figure 1-7).
A balance of all aspects of life is the key to maintaining one’s health. Factors that impact the level of wellness include age, gender, family relationships, emotional stressors, ethnic and cultural influences, and economic status. Consideration of the interrelationships among these variables is of paramount importance when the nurse is planning and providing care. An all-inclusive approach to health care is known as holistic health care (a system of comprehensive or total patient care that considers the physical, emotional, social, economic, and spiritual needs of a person).

Maslow’s Model of Health and Illness

Several models of the wellness-illness continuum have been developed. These models enable the nurse to understand the patient’s level of individual level of

wellness and position on the continuum. The most common model was developed in the 1940s by Abraham Maslow. He believed that an individual’s behavior is formed by the individual’s attempts to meet essential human needs, which he identified as physiologic, safety and security, love and belongingness, and esteem and self-actualization. Maslow placed these needs into a conceptual hierarchy, or pyramid, that ranks them according to how basic each one is. A person has to meet needs at the base of the pyramid before advancing to the needs higher on the pyramid. Those needs placed higher on the pyramid are not requirements for life but rather enhance it. Remember that each patient may view or prioritize individual needs according to his or her own value system (Figure 1-8).

Health Promotion and Illness Prevention

From the earliest recorded civilizations to the twentieth century, the primary focus of health care was on the care of the sick. Today’s focus has broadened to include an emphasis on an awareness of the causes of disease and the prevention of its spread through the use of health promotion activities.

In contrast to their origins as dirty, unsanitary, and ill-kept institutions where unsuspecting patients acquired diseases, hospitals have become clean increasingly safe locations where patients and their families are cared for with limited fears that they will be exposed to additional illness and medical problems. The U.S. Department of Public Health works to help in the identification of disease types and related risk factors. These statistics identify problem areas for researchers and health care providers, who then direct their efforts at developing treatment for the illness, isolating its cause, and establishing methods to decrease its spread. The determination of cause-and-effect