This NRS-434VN: Health Assessment course focuses on methods of health history taking, physical examination skills, documentation, and health promotion strategies. Additionally, this NRS-434VN: Health Assessment course also emphasizes the individual as the client, health patterns across the lifespan, community resources, and the teaching-learning process.
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What is a health assessment?
According to Wikipedia, a health assessment is a plan of care that identifies the specific needs of a person and how those needs will be addressed by the healthcare system or skilled nursing facility. Health assessment is the evaluation of the health status by performing a physical exam after taking a health history. It is done to detect diseases early in people that may look and feel well.
A simpler definition of health assessment is, a health assessment is a broad term that is used to describe a process of measuring your health and ability to perform everyday skills during a hospital stay. Thus, these assessments are regularly repeated in order to help measure your progress and identify your ongoing needs. This helps to ensure that you get the best care in the hospital and helps with planning for when you leave the hospital.
Benefits of health assessments.
- Regular assessments of patients by hospital staff help to identify problems quickly thus better treatment.
- Health assessments help to check your health and ability to do everyday skills.
- It also helps to identify and diagnose problems that will impact your quality of life by having healthcare workers look at your medical issues and investigate your social, physical, and psychological health.
- Ongoing assessment helps medical staff to recommend the best care plan for you when you are discharged from the hospital, and put you in contact with services that can support you outside of the hospital.
Types of health assessments.
There are several types of health assessments. These are namely:
- Physical examination.
- Neurologic examination.
During a physical examination, your healthcare provider may need to find out many things about your health. This may involve using their hands to feel (palpate), stethoscope and ears to listen, and eyes to see. Findings that are present on the physical exam may by themselves diagnose, or be helpful to diagnose, many diseases. Some of processes involve in the physical examination are:
Your nurse/examiner will look at, or “inspect” specific areas of your body for normal color, shape, and consistency. Certain findings on “inspection” may alert your healthcare provider to focus other parts of the physical exam on certain areas of your body. Common areas that are inspected may include:
- Your skin – to look for bruising, cuts, moles, or lumps
- Face and eyes – to see if they are even and “normal”
- Your neck veins – to see if these are bulging, distended (swollen)
- Chest and abdomen (stomach area)- to see if there are any masses or bulges
- Your legs – to see if there are any swelling
- Your muscles- to check for good muscle tone
- Elbows and joints – check for swelling and inflammation, if any deformities are present
This involves the nurse using their hands to feel for abnormalities during a health assessment. Things that are commonly palpated during an exam include your lymph nodes, chest wall (to see if your heart is beating harder than normal), and abdomen. The nurse may also use palpation to see if there are any masses or lumps, anywhere in your body.
This involves the nurse using their hands to “tap” on an area of your body. The “tapping” produces different sounds. Depending on the kind of sounds that are produced over your abdomen, on your back or chest wall, your healthcare provider may determine anything from fluid in your lungs, or a mass in your stomach. This will provide further clues to a possible diagnosis.
This technique of physical examination is used by your nurse to listen to your heart, lungs, neck or abdomen. It helps the nurse to identify if any problems are present. Generally, auscultation is performed by using a stethoscope. The stethoscope will amplify sounds heard in the area that is being listened to. If there is an abnormal finding on your examination, further testing may be suggested.