Health Belief Model

White Group: Health Belief Model

Theorist Identified

The Health Belief Model (HBM) was created in the 1950s by a group of social psychologists from the United States to better understand why people were not utilizing public disease preventative and screening services, specifically free tuberculosis screens (Boslaugh, 2014). The model proposes that health associated behavior depends on a person’s perceived notion of four areas: severity of potential illness, susceptibility to that illness, benefits of taking preventative action and barriers to that action. Perceived threat of illness refers to an individual’s belief that they are at risk of developing an illness or disease and the consequences of not treating the illness is the perceived severity. An individual’s perceived benefit is the potential positive outcomes if they follow healthcare recommendations, including the possibility of reducing the risk of disease (Boslaugh, 2014). Perceived barriers are an individual’s opinion of the possible negative effects of action; examples include cost, discomfort, and danger (Boslaugh, 2014). Perceived benefits are the positive results of action, such as decreasing the chances of getting an illness or disease.

Rationale for Selection

The Health Belief model is considered one of the most widely used theories in nursing and has become especially important with our current health care issues we face today. The HBM was selected for this report because of its application in preventative care, which represents a large portion of the Affordable Care Act. The HMB can help identify why certain populations and individuals do not take advantage of health prevention programs and determine the reasons for their health behavior. This model can also help healthcare professionals learn why patients are not compliant with medications or medical recommendations. Why and when people pursue health care is influenced by their perceived threat of the problem.

 Value of Theory

The value the Health Belief Model (HBM) can contribute to this institution is extensive. The HBM can be used to determine perceived and real barriers that may impede on a client’s ability to obtain care, such as cost, inconvenience, discomfort, and accessibility. By recognizing barriers in a person’s ability to get service, we can create solutions to those barriers to make the institution more attractive to those seeking care; for example, applying for healthcare grants to cover the costs of service so that we can lower out of pocket expenses for clients, or offering transportation vouchers for those with transportation issues. When barriers are eliminated or reduced, the client is more likely to participate in behaviors to improve their health. The HBM can also be useful when addressing susceptibility and severity of illnesses treated at the facility. Distinguishing the difference between perceived susceptibility and severity and real susceptibility and severity are key in influencing a person to seek health care. Providing this information will reduce misconceptions of public knowledge of when to seek care and how to practice positive health behaviors, and eliminate the negative behaviors of seeking healthcare when severity of illness is high. Self-efficacy can be described as a person’s confidence in their ability to carry out a behavior. Self-efficacy is a major factor in the HBM and when identifying the population this facility aims to treat; it is important to measure their self-efficacy. If servicing a low-income area with a high incidence of drug trafficking, it is important to recognize that self-efficacy may be low among the population considering the high incidence of drugs and other non-healthy behaviors. In the same consideration, if servicing a medium-class area with low crime rates, self-efficacy may be higher as high risk behavior is not as prevalent. Not only is recognizing the self-efficacy of the population important, but the services, equipment, hours of operation, and amount of staff used at this facility is just as crucial. The HBM can help model the institution so that it is attractive to clients based on their needs and the benefits the facility can provide.

Application of Theory

When considering the application of the HBM to practice, I would like to refer to a study published in Hong Kong that focused on Influenza vaccination uptake and associated factors among the elderly. This study focused on the elderly population, 65 years and older. Among this population, there were many perceived notions on the severity Influenza had on the elderly. A quick analysis of the data collected states, “about 44.7% of those involved in the study believed that influenza vaccination could reduce the risk of influenza-induced complications, 48.5% perceived that vaccination could reduce hospitalizations, and 46.5% believed that vaccination could reduce the risk of death due to influenza” (Mo & Lau, 2015). In addition to the perceived severity and susceptibility of influenza and the benefit of vaccination, it was also noted that two-thirds of those studied would facilitate influenza vaccination if it was recommended by health care professionals and less than half (48.4%) were willing to pay for the vaccination. With that knowledge, the study noted that in order to increase the likelihood of vaccination in the elderly population of Hong Kong, it would need to seek out government financial assistance, increase the frequency of recommendation from health care providers to patients over 65 years of age, increase awareness and availability of influenza vaccination as well as basic knowledge of the vaccine itself, and highlight the efficacies of influenza vaccination in preventing influenza and influenza-related risks (Mo & Lau, 2015). This study provided a great example of how to apply the Health Belief Model when guiding practice, and evaluating care. It identified the population, determined the severity and susceptibility of illness, identified the service most beneficial to the population, and implemented a plan of care that could better enhance the self-efficacy of the population to practice positive health behaviors.

Conclusion

References

Boslaugh, S. P. (2014). Health belief model. Salem Press Encyclopedia. Retrieved from https://lopes.idm.oclc.org/login?url=http://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&db=ers&AN=89677562&site=eds-live&scope=site

McEwen, M. and Wills, E. (2014). Theoretical basis for nursing. (4th ed.). Philadelphia: Lippincott Williams & Wilkins

Mo, P., & Lau, J. (2015, Oct). Influenza vaccination uptake and associated factors among elderly population in Hong Kong: the application of the Health Belief Model. HEALTH EDUCATION RESEARCH, 30(5), 706-718. https://doi.org/10.1093/her/cyv038

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