The Importance of

Health Promotion and Well Being

Word Count: 2194

        According to the World health organization (WHO)   health can be defined as “…a state of complete physical, mental and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity.” (WHO; 1946) This definition of health is very impractical as it suggests that if a person does not poses all these qualities then they are deemed not healthy, however this notion does give us a platform to discuss what health is.

        The suggestion that health may be something other than the absence of illness presents a new holistic view of health, Ewles and Simnett (1985) proposed six areas of human existence in which health may be considered, social, spiritual, societal, physical, mental and emotional concepts of health.  

        Health promotion on the other hand is a process of enabling people to increase control over their health and its determinants, and thereby improve their health.” (WHO, Ottawa Charta 1986) This suggests that health promotion is a form of health education given to patients in able to empower them to take control over their health.

        Health promotion aims to give equal opportunities and resources to everyone so they can take control of the things that determine their health.

        This essay will identify the key principles a nurse needs to carry out health promotion to enhance patient well being, it will also discuss relevant policies and knowledge needed to carry out health promotion. Drawing upon a clinical example this essay will then examine the barriers and skills a nurse needs to promote health and well being.

        During a recent clinical placement with a healthvistor, a visit to a new mother in an area of high deprivation brought up issues concerning breastfeeding, the mother assured the health visitor that attachment and positioning was fine as well as the baby’s feeding. However on closer inspection the baby did not appear to be attaching well and had poor weight gain. The health visitor recommended taking the baby off the nipple using a finger and reattaching, making sure the nipple touches the soft palate of the baby’s mouth, the baby then has enough soft breast tissue in it’s mouth to feed comfortably. The health visitor suggested the mother should look out for nice long swallows from the baby to determine how good the attachment is.

        The mother inquired as to whether it was best to  change the baby onto formula milk as that is what her mother used, the health visitor advised that breast feeding is best and has many benefits for both the mother and baby, such as building up the baby’s immune system by passing on the mother’s antibodies  as well as  reducing the risk of obesity in later life. Breastfeeding also reduces the likelihood of the baby suffering from allergies, as breast milk does not contain the cow’s protein that is usually responsible for triggering them. Breastfeed also benefits the mother as it  protects her from breast and ovarian cancer and reduce the risk of suffering from osteoporosis in later life. The mother was informed that breastfeeding releases the hormone oxytocin which helps the mother feel more relaxed and maternal towards her child. The mother was made aware that breastfeeding can take up to 6 - 8 weeks to become established. The health visitor would keep a track of the feeding progress by measuring weight gain at the next visit to then determine a plan of action.

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        The mother have good support from family, it was advised that the mother attended breastfeeding groups in the local family centre, where peer counsellors could also help her talk through any other issues or complications she may encounter.


        Assessing the needs of a patient or new mother in this case is crucial, Breastfeeding in modern society can be difficult, especially a new born baby that could want feeding every hour.

        “ Breastfeeding is a skill to be learned and practised. Many first time mothers have never seen anyone breastfeeding, and although breastfeeding is natural it is not instinctive” ...

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