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What are Health Services? Definition and Types

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What do a lifeguard, a sanitation officer, and a surgeon have in common? They all render health services. When we think of health services, doctors and nurses immediately come to mind. However, health service providers include healthcare professionals, organizations, and every other person actively involved in helping people achieve a state of optimal health and wellness.

 From those who provide emergency healthcare (like the lifeguard who provides first aid), to those who are experts in rehabilitative healthcare, health service providers are all around us. Health service is any service that improves the quality of life of a person – preventive therapy, diagnosis, treatment, and rehabilitation. It includes health education and promotion, environmental and sanitation services, and so on. Government ministries like the ministry of environmental sanitation are also health service providers.

Types of Health Services

Health services vary, according to the issue they solve. In addition to the regular types of health services we know; in-patient and outpatient care, there are other types of health services. They include:

1. Preventative Care

Preventive health service focuses on activities that help people maintain a healthy standard of living. General medical practitioners, fitness coaches, life coaches, and counselors are a few of the professionals who offer this kind of healthcare. This type of health service aims to nip growing illnesses in the bud before they bloom to become serious conditions.

Exercise, meditation, vaccination, immunizations, and so on, visual examinations, and so on are some of the methods of treatment used in this service. Patients who observe routine health check-ups are the ones who benefit the most from this type of health service.

2. Nutritional Support

Healthcare professionals like nutritionists and dieticians are the experts who directly offer this health service. They aim at helping people improve their health by eating healthy meals. Some patients who suffer from illnesses that are influenced by their nutrition are offered nutritional support to help them get to full strength using diet plans and meal timetables.

Nutritional support is also made available to people looking to gain or lose weight. Healthcare professionals who offer this type of health service, often specialize in treating food deficiencies and eating disorders.

3. Mental Healthcare

This type of health service is offered by psychologists and therapists. It focuses on alleviating mental health struggles like stress, anxiety, depression, and so on. Mental healthcare professionals also diagnose and treat mental illnesses and disorders like bipolar disorder, Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD), and so on.

4. Dental Care

Dental care is essential for the maintenance of oral hygiene, and the alleviation of illnesses and diseases that affect our teeth. Healthcare professionals who offer this type of health service specialize in the diagnosis and treatment of dental illnesses and diseases.

They also offer expert advice on the best practices for oral wellbeing. Dental care is a form of out-patient care – dental care check-ups and procedures are conducted in the dentist’s office, and patients return home the same day.

5. Physical Therapy and Occupational Therapy

Physiotherapists, physiologists, and occupational therapists are the professionals who specialize in this type of health service. Physical therapy aims at helping patients get back to their normal life, after surviving a fatal accident or life-threatening illness. Occupational therapy is offered to patients who have to manage a life-long health condition, to help them live a life as close to their regular lives as possible.

6. Pharmaceutical Care

Pharmaceutical care is a type of health service offered to out-patients, to hasten their recovery process through the use of medication. A pharmacist offers expert advice to patients on the proper use of medication and assists patients who need to manage their health with drugs for a long time.

7. Prenatal and Postnatal Care

Prenatal and postnatal healthcare services are offered to pregnant women before and after the birth of their unborn child. This involves scheduled antenatal visits, scans, immunizations, and so on. Several healthcare professionals are involved in this type of health service delivery – doctors, nurses, obstetricians, gynecologists, pediatricians, and other specialists.

8. Laboratory and diagnostic care

Laboratory scientists use their knowledge for research and diagnosis. This health service involves performing tests and scans on in-patients, to help the doctor get a clearer diagnosis. X-rays, blood tests, CT scans, and swabs are a few examples of the examinations carried out on patients in this type of health service.

9. Substance Abuse Treatment

This type of health service is rendered at rehabilitation centers and health facilities to help patients suffering from the consequences of substance abuse make a full recovery. Part of the care offered in this health service is psychological therapy and counseling to help these patients overcome the pangs of withdrawal.

10. Emergency Services

Emergency services are offered to patients with wounds or injuries that demand urgent medical attention. Usually, people with fatal or life-threatening injuries are prioritized over those with injuries that require minor surgeries like stitching. In minor cases, first aid is often enough to care for recovery, however, in major emergencies, the person involved is rushed down to the hospital for proper medical attention after first aid is administered. Situations that call for emergency services include drowning, fainting spells, asthmatic attacks, allergic reactions, accidents, fire outbreaks, and so on. Emergency procedures include CPR, mouth-to-mouth resuscitation, and regular first-aid measures like administering glucose.

11. Mobile Health Services

This type of health service is offered by mobile clinics. Mobile clinics are customized vehicles used to provide healthcare services to people who need them, on the go. They effectively solve the problem of transportation to stationary clinics and hospitals.

Healthcare professionals who offer mobile health services focus on rural areas and communities with little or no access to proper healthcare facilities. Although mobile clinics typically specialize in preventative healthcare, they may also offer emergency services, pediatric services, ENT (ear, nose, and throat) services, and eye care.

12. Community Health Services

Community health centers also aim at delivering healthcare services to communities that do not have easy access to them. However, they are stationary, and people who are residents in the same area as the health center benefit from the healthcare service the most.

Take-Home

Health is a state of total wellbeing, and looking after our health is a top priority. This is why health services are essential services. The role of health service providers in maintaining life’s balance cannot be overemphasized. If you are a humanitarian and have a passion to help people improve their standard of living, a career in providing health services will be rewarding for you.

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