Health Indicators and Health Literacy of an Older Adult Population with the Institution of a Nurse Managed Wellness Center
Dr. Barbara Vincensi, Nursing
Federal standards define a vulnerable population for older adults as individuals the age of ≥65 with chronic disease and limited resources for health. Thirteen percent of individuals 65 and older account for 34% of national healthcare expenditure. Therefore it is important to develop strategies to promote and maintain this population’s health. The purpose of this study describes trends in health indicators and health literacy in an older adult population meeting the federal definition of being vulnerable. The sample received services from an onsite student nurse managed wellness program and clinic (SNMWP). This convenient sample, ≥55 years, resides in a lower income, independent living community in Western Michigan, living with at least one chronic disease or disability. King’s Theory of Goal Attainment was used as it supports relationship building to achieve attainable health goals. A retrospective chart review obtained data on health indicators from the first year of the SNMWP. The BRIEF health literacy screening surveyed the participants for their level of health literacy. Previous literature indicates this as a reliable tool. SPSS 21 and descriptive statistics were used for data analysis. Of the 117 residents on site, twenty-five (21.40%) attended the clinics regularly (females: n=16; males: n=9). Attendance at residential activities ranged from 3-35 participants weekly. Mean findings from several health indicators reveal the following: random blood sugars m = 125.84 (SD = 32.36); blood pressure m = 132.39/74.86, (SD=9.874/8.17); pulse oximetry m = 96.83 (SD=1.03). The BRIEF health literacy findings (n = 8) indicate that 62.5% had adequate health literacy scores; 25% marginal scores; and 12.5% limited scores. In conclusion, participants’ health indicators were within normal ranges. Participants were also fairly health literate at the end of the first year of the SNMWP, but may need occasional outside assistance. Limitations include a small sample size, a convenient sample, limited sample diversity, and single site data collection. Implications for nursing indicate on-site nursing clinics may help to improve participants’ health indicators and health literacy. Attainment of health care goals can be improved by creating a trusting environment for residents. However, more research is necessary over time to compare differences and relationships in the data.
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