The primary goal of screening patients is to identify chronic conditions and risk factors before the condition impacts the quality of life and has a greater financial impact. In screening patients, we are able to identify risk factors and conditions early and reduce the progression of the disease and possibly prevent the condition.
Economics has a large impact on the nutritional status of patients. For patients living at or below the poverty level, being able to afford nutritiously health foods can be difficult, hence the reason many patients in this bracket tend to be overweight or obese. My advice for patients in a lower socioeconomic status to eat healthy on a budget would be to make wiser decisions when purchasing food. When shopping for groceries, purchase store brand items instead of name brand. When cooking, bake food instead of frying. For fresh fruits and vegetables, go to a farmers market or flea market, as you can purchase these items in these locations cheaper than purchasing them in stores. For patients that have financial restraints that limit their access to food, I would assist with getting them set up with supplemental nutrition assistance program (SNAP), formerly known as food stamps. I would direct them to local food banks to receive free foods. For those with school aged children, the local schools offer free breakfast and lunch for all students. I would encourage families to take advantage of the free meals that are offered for the children.
There are a variety of potential barriers to patient education. These barriers include literacy, culture, language, and physiological. Overcoming these challenges can be difficult. To overcome the literacy barrier, should I have a patient with this barrier, I could provide the patient with pictures that depict what I am teaching the patient, along with the written literature that can be taken home for family members that are literate. With cultural barriers, the way to overcome this barrier is for the healthcare professional to learn the patients cultural beliefs and values. This will allow us to educate the patient based on their beliefs. Language barriers, to overcome this barrier, it is best to have an interpreter available to be the liaison between the healthcare professional and the patient. If there is another healthcare professional that speaks the same language it would be most ideal for them to see this patient. Lastly is the physiological barriers, this includes vision, hearing, and memory issues. For those with visual deficits, I would provide them with large print instructions that are easier to read. For those with hearing problems, giving them written materials and when speaking to them, talking louder for them to be able to hear what is being said. For those with memory issues, again providing written instructions as well as verbal instructions and possibly including family in the education process so they can carry the teaching back home and continue to work with the patient.