What is a Health Assessment?
A health assessment is an evaluation of your health and functional status. It usually involves answering a set of questions and undergoing a physical examination or general medical tests. Health assessments may be performed for patients of all ages. A family member or caregiver may also provide input for a health assessment.
Why are Health Assessments Necessary?
Health assessments are beneficial for the following reasons:
- They explore and identify problems with your physical, mental and social health.
- Early treatment can be recommended before a condition worsens.
- They can identify conditions or behaviours that can put your health at risk.
- They help manage the conditions of those with deteriorating health.
- They are useful in assessing your progress following treatment.
Procedure of Health Assessment
Health Assessment Questions or Tasks
During your health assessment, you may be questioned regarding your previous medical history. This can include family history, physical activity, eating habits, alcohol or tobacco use, sexual practices, social engagement, mental health and any history of addiction. Tasks may be given to assess your movement, balance, gait and cognition.
The types of tests performed depend on your health and may involve the following:
- General tests: Measurement of your weight, height, blood pressure, blood glucose and respiratory function.
- Inspection: Examination of the eyes, ears, mouth, skin, thyroid gland, chest, abdomen, arteries, joints, breasts and genital organs.
- Palpation: This is an examination by feeling. Your doctor may use his or her hands to detect any abnormalities such as lumps or masses. Palpation of the chest, abdomen and lymph nodes is routinely performed.
- Percussion: This involves gently tapping specific areas of your body to diagnose abnormalities such as fluid accumulation. Usually, the percussion of the abdomen or chest is performed.
- Auscultation: Your healthcare provider listens to your heart, lungs and abdomen to detect any abnormalities.
- Neurological Examination: Involves examination of your gait, muscle strength, and sensations.
Your Participation in a Health Assessment
Some important points you must remember during your health assessment:
- Be honest when answering questions. False information could lead to an incorrect diagnosis. Your personal details and medical information will not be shared with anyone without your consent.
- Perform the tasks given as best you can.
- Don’t hesitate to ask any questions and inform the staff about any concerns you have.
- Provide information about any medications you are taking or have recently taken.