Social determinants of health, according to Healthy People 2020, is defined as ways to promote good health to individuals by creating healthy social and physical environments. Some examples are: air and water free of pollution, healthy choices such as being smoke-free, and consuming healthy foods daily. Unfortunately, there are many factors to consider when attempting this. According to the CDC, education, early childhood development, type of career and ability to maintain the job, access to health services and income are just a few of the factors that play a part in an individual’s, or family’s, ability to stay healthy. When looking specifically at the social determinants, availability of medical care, social or societal characteristics and total ecology are the three factors that are the most important. Unfortunately, the social determinants of health can contribute to illness development. If a family does not have adequate health insurance from their place of employment due to the family member being in the probationary period of their career, the family may decide not to take a child to a physician which could results in further illness if not treated, and additional problems as the child ages.
According to the CDC, a communicable disease chain is composed of 6 components: an infectious agent, a reservoir, a portal of exit, mode of transmission, a portal of entry and a susceptible host. Luckily, if one of the links of the chain is broken, an infection will not be spread, making it feasible for the nurse to break the chain. Primary prevention is the first way to prevent infection which can be done with handwashing. However, for patients that are already ill, the first and foremost way to break the chain is using the necessary precautions in the hospital setting. For instance, if a patient is hospitalized with pneumonia, the nurse should always be wearing a mask when entering the patient’s room to ensure the nurse does not have a portal of entry available for the bacteria to travel. Same goes for a patient admitted with diarrhea. Ensuring the nurse is utilizing the gown and gloves is essential to stopping that chain of disease.
Healthy People 2020. Retrieved from: https://www.healthypeople.gov/2020/topics-objectives/topic/social-determinants-of-health
The Center for Disease Control. Retrieved from: https://www.cdc.gov/nchhstp/socialdeterminants/faq.html
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