Assessment of long-term forensic population for areas of health promotion

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Most traditional inpatient opportunities do not automatically lend the opportunity to educate patients about health promotion opportunities. With short lengths of stay nurses are fortunate to be able to educate about post-hospital care, medication regimes and use of durable medical equipment.

In a long-term care psychiatric mental health forensic facility the opportunity is available to promote this line of health teaching. I am new in the long-term care arena and have had several encounters in my short tenure that have led me to mull over this issue several times already. When I stop to think about it we just do not do a good job of teaching. I always am intrigued that the things that are so important in health-care we tend to not take the time to do and then we get regulated. For instance, JCAHO introduced not to long ago standard PC.8.60, specific to behavioral health units, expectations that hygiene, including; bathing, brushing teeth, caring for hair and nails, and using the toilet be taught and maintained. I think we do a good job in some areas of health promotion such as it pertains to mental illness and suicide prevention. I think we do very well in the area of substance abuse and also with disease specific education. I do not think we do very well with areas such as self-breast examination, colorectal cancer, obesity, hearing and vision to name a few.

I not only would like to know if others have established programming for health promotion in a long-term psychiatric facility or if this is open territory ripe for the development. I am preparing to embark on an extensive educational endeavor for the Registered Nurses at the facility where I work for the vast area of planning care. I know that this is one area that will be added to my syllabus.

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