Reorientation to more health promotion in health services – a study of barriers and possibilities from the perspective of health professionals
Helene Johansson1,3, Hans Stenlund1, Lena Lundström2, Lars Weinehall1
1Epidemiology and Global Health, Department of Public Health and Clinical Medicine, 2Medical Rehabilitation, Department of Community Medicine and Rehabilitation, Umeå University, Umeå, Sweden; 3Ersboda Health Care Centre, Umeå, Sweden
Aim: The objective of this study is to analyze the commitment to a more health-promoting health service and to illuminate important barriers for having a health-promoting role in daily practice, among Swedish health care professionals.
Material and method: Out of a total of 3751 health professionals who are working daytime in clinical practice in the province of Västerbotten, 1810 were invited to participate in a survey. The health professionals represented eight different occupational groups: counselors, dieticians, midwives, nurses, occupational therapists, physical therapists, psychologists, and physicians. A questionnaire that operationalized perceptions found in a previous qualitative study was mailed to residential addresses of the participants.
Results: The majority believed that health services play a major role in long-term health development in the population and saw a need for health orientation as a strategy to provide more effective health care. Willingness to work more in health promotion and disease prevention was reported significantly more often by women than men, and by primary health care personnel compared to hospital personnel. Among the professional groups, psychologists, occupational therapists, and physiotherapists most frequently reported willingness. The most common barriers to health promotion roles in daily practice were reported to be heavy workload, lack of guidelines, and unclear objectives.
Conclusions: This study found strong support for reorientation of health services in the incorporation of a greater health promotion. A number of professions that are not usually associated with health promotion practices are knowledgeable and wish to focus more on health promotion and disease prevention. Management has a major role in creating opportunities for these professionals to participate in health promotion practices. Men and physicians reported less positive attitudes to a more health-promoting health service and often possess high positions of power. Therefore, they may play an important role in the process of change toward more health promotion in health services.
Keywords: health promotion, health care professionals, health service, attitudes, barriers
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