There are three levels of prevention in health promotion. The levels are primary, secondary, and tertiary. Educating the patient is important in each level of prevention.
Primary prevention is for those who are in good health. Falkner (2018) states “Primary prevention occurs before the onset of illness or injury and may involve preventative treatments, such as vaccinations and wellness exams, to prevent the contraction of illness” (para. 23). It involves vaccinations, health promotion, and educating the patient on ways to prevent illness or disease. Primary prevention aims to arm individuals and communities with information to be able to make educated decisions.
Secondary prevention is for those who are at risk of developing a health problem. Falkner (2018) states “Secondary prevention focuses on the early detection and treatment of disease processes before they progress and cause irreparable damage” (para. 24). This level of prevention involves screenings, identifying and controlling risk factors, and taking the necessary actions as early as possible. For example, mammograms and colonoscopies are secondary prevention measures. By identifying risk factors and problems early on the patient can start treating the problem before it progresses further.
Tertiary prevention is for those who have already been diagnosed with a disease or illness that has caused permanent damage. Falkner (2018) states “The focus of this level of prevention is to help the patient achieve some semblance of normalcy and acclimate back into their lives and society” (para. 25). This type of prevention may involve rehabilitation, home health care, and educating the patient and family on ways to prevent further complications. For example, stroke rehab is considered to be tertiary prevention.
The level of prevention helps to determine the educational needs of the patient. The education provided is tailored to each individual patient. The nurse must provide health promotion strategies and measures that will benefit the patient at that given time.