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Seven people, ranging in age from from young childhood through middle age, stand outside near a rusted tractor.
Figure 26.1 Because they care for clients of all ages, nurses must be aware of how health needs change throughout the lifespan. (credit: modification of work “Harrison Ranch in Okfuskee County, Oklahoma” by Preston Keres/USDA/Flickr, Public Domain)

As a nurse at the City Clinic, Kai sees many clients of different ages. Today, an extended family arrives seeking care. The family consists of Charles, his partner Cody, and their children: 18-year-old Louisa, who is pregnant with her first child; 10-year-old Devon; and 4-year-old Kris. Charles’s mother Pearl also lives with the family and accompanies them to the clinic. Throughout the visit with the family and each member individually, Kai has many opportunities to provide health promotion and maintenance education. This requires Kai to be knowledgeable about the health promotion needs of childbearing, older adult, adult, adolescent, school-age, and preschool clients.

As mentioned in Health Promotion and Disease Prevention Strategies, health promotion is the process of empowering people to increase control over, and to improve, their health. Disease prevention involves specific, population- and individual-based interventions geared toward decreasing the burden of communicable and noncommunicable diseases and their associated risk factors. As clients grow and age, their health needs change. Nurses like Kai, who provide care to various clients, must understand the basics of health promotion and maintenance concerning clients throughout their lifespan. Nurses present individuals, families, and communities with disease-prevention and injury-prevention services, including immunizations, screenings, health education, and counseling. This means knowing current standards, outcomes, disease prevention strategies, and risk factors. To implement prevention strategies effectively, nurses must develop activities targeted to all age groups throughout the lifespan. Doing so provides clients with anticipatory guidance as they move through their lifespan.

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