Health care is the proper management or enhancement of health through the diagnosis, prevention, treatment, recovery, and rehabilitation of disease, condition, injury, or other bodily and mental disabilities in humans. Health care involves medical, nursing, social work, psychotherapy, and related fields. Health care delivery involves patient care, primary health care, and secondary health care. Primary health care involves the provision of preventive care, maintenance of quality care, and emergency care; and, secondary health care involves treating and preventing diseases, injuries, and conditions that require ongoing treatment. Health insurance helps hospitals and health care centers meet their expenses and provide services to the needy.
The scope of health care services offered by health care centers and hospitals varies widely. Long-term care facilities provide assistance to the elderly, individuals with chronic diseases, and special needs individuals. Caregivers, who are formally admitted patients, receive education and training regarding disease prevention, therapy, nutrition, exercise, and housekeeping. Caregivers are under the direct supervision of a doctor.
To serve the needs of this growing population, public health agencies have developed comprehensive primary care plans, including preventative services, that focus on overall health and the development of a healthy community. In the United States, the National Institutes of Health and the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services jointly conduct comprehensive primary care programs. In order for a patient to be eligible for one of these plans, he or she must already be registered under a Medicare Part A or B program. The primary objective of these plans is to promote preventative services, primary care, and emergency care.
Most comprehensive primary care programs now provide nationwide coverage for all individuals, regardless of income. In addition, some health systems also provide coverage for children and family members of primary care patients. In general, primary care providers participate in such programs. They are then paid a fee for their participation. In most cases, health services covered by a primary care program are not covered by a Medicare supplemental insurance plan.
Another trend that has emerged in the field of health care delivery is patient-centered care. This concept makes use of patient’s personal information in order to design programs that address his or her specific health issues. In this way, health centers can build a patient-centered perspective that takes into account the patient’s views, beliefs, hopes, dreams, and fears. Some health centers employ psychotherapy, psychoeducation, life skills, exercise, and social network counseling as means of addressing the individual’s needs. This patient-centered approach empowers the patient and helps him or her to make changes that will benefit him or her in the future.
The field of social care has also improved over the years. Long-term care services are now available for both adults and children. These services involve providing home and community based care for an individual who has difficulties maintaining independence or maintaining a quality of life. Long-term care services target problems that will affect an individual for at least one year. The services can be as minimal as helping an elderly person take his or her daily pill, but can include extensive services like visiting the patient’s physician on a regular basis and helping him or her to take part in activities of daily living.