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Health Needs Assessment - Dissertation Example

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This essay will outline the problem of anorexia nervosa within the UK population and evaluate how best to undertake a health needs assessment for this illness. It is important, particularly with mental illness, that it is evaluated well, because there are so many different treatment options that may have different success rates with different types of sufferers. Anorexia nervosa is relevant to public health practice because, although it may not necessarily be considered as important as a physical disease to some, it has the highest mortality rate of any mental illness (Ha et al, 2003). Anorexia Nervosa Anorexia nervosa is a mental illness and eating disorder that has many different features, but predominant symptoms are a fear of weight gain (Ha et al, 2003) and the patient refusing to maintain a body weight in the healthy range (Eisler et al, 2007). It is generally accompanied by a poor self-image and an obsession with food, calorie counting and weight changes (Bulik et al, 2007). Anorexia predominantly affects females and usually begins to show symptoms in puberty (Papadopoulos et al, 2009), although it is important not to generalise and ignore the needs of male or older sufferers who may also need treatment. There are also links between anorexia and other eating disorders, as sufferers can exhibit symptoms of bulimia and binge-eating disorders at times. This leads to a complexity in diagnosis and treatment options. Other associated problems include depression, obsessive-compulsive disorder, anxiety disorders, autism and ADHD (Bulik et al, 2006), which again may lead to a complexity in the diagnosis and treatment options for these individuals. Treatment for the disease is varied and depends on many different things, such as the weight of the individual, any co-existing disorders (such as autism [Bulik et al, 2006]), age and gender. Generally, sufferers are given a specialised diet to increase their weight, and are carefully watched for any signs of heart problems which can result from a sudden increase in calorific intake (Papadopoulos et al, 2009). This can happen in a specialised residential clinic or as an out-patient with parental or other supervisory guidance. There are also medications and therapies which can be used as in the treatment of many other mental illnesses, trying to address any underlying problems that may hinder recovery (Bulik et al, 2007). As previously mentioned, anorexia nervosa has the highest morbidity rate of any mental illness (Ha et al, 2003), and therefore it is highly important to undertake a correct health needs assessment. This, combined with the multitude of treatments needed to fully heal someone with anorexia, means that the health needs assessment can be quite complicated and lengthy but is definitely a worthwhile undertaking. Health Needs Assessment for Anorexia Nervosa There are certain steps that need to be undertaken for a health needs assessment, regardless of which illness they are trying to uncover the health needs for. These will be discussed below in the context of anorexia nervosa to show how a health needs assessment could be undertaken in these circumstances, focusing on the guidelines given by NICE (2011). The first of the five general steps suggested in undertaking a health needs as ...Show more
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Summary

Health Needs Assessment Introduction The purpose of a health needs assessment is to correctly identify health risks to the population and understand how they may affect this group of people. It is there to help understand the resources that need to be available to people suffering from certain afflictions or illnesses within the target population to ensure that healthcare is being provided to certain qualities and to ensure that everyone has access to appropriate treatment…
Health Needs Assessment
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