Date of Publication
Mary Val Palumbo, DNP, APRN; Ellen Long-Middleton, Ph.D., APRN
Background: Advances in health care technology have lead to adults living longer than in previous decades. Longer life expectancy in combination with the aging of the Baby Boomer generation is predicted to result in rapid and exponential growth among the older adult population. Adults in the U.S. over the age of 65 have on average five or more chronic illnesses, many of which are often poorly managed. Older adults who experience chronic diseases often report decreased quality of life, limitations in functional ability, loss of independence, and periods of decline and increasing disability. Health promotion efforts can help in delaying the onset of disability and preventing rapid decline associated with many chronic conditions.
Purpose: The purpose of this project was to assess the effectiveness of the implementation of a brief waiting room health promotion activity that informs older adults about the benefits of walking, such as reducing the risk of chronic disease, improving mood, and maintaining weight, physical and cognitive function. This project took place at a federally qualified health center in Plainfield, Vermont.
Methods: The target population for this educational intervention included patients, as well as family members and visitors to the primary care practice who were age 55 and older. All age-eligible participants were encouraged to participate regardless of health status or the presence of comorbid health conditions. The activity comprised of participants viewing a brief audiovisual educational activity explaining the health benefits of walking, supplemented with paper materials to support the health messages; the intervention was then followed by completion of a brief paper survey evaluation.
Results: During the two-month period the health promotion activity was available, 56 individuals participated and completed the survey. Of the 56 participants, 87% indicated they either “strongly agreed” or “agreed” that watching the video increased knowledge about health-related benefits of walking. In total, approximately 73% of participants who participated in this health promotion activity agreed that they paid attention to educational materials in the waiting room setting. Approximately 57% of participants shared a health related goal that they created as a result of the health promotion activity.
Conclusion: This project has suggested that implementation of waiting room health promotion activities, specifically for older adults, is a simple and cost-effective way to promote good health practices and provide patients with in-depth health care information that may not be addressed during the health care visit. Activities in the waiting room can help to supplement information provided during the clinical encounter, leaving patients more satisfied with their visits, and promoting positive behavior change.
Kopecky, Emma G., "Waiting Room Health Promotion for Older Adults in Rural Primary Care" (2016). College of Nursing and Health Sciences Nursing Master Project Publications. 2.