Healthcare Models Analysis

Food poisoning is a common problem for millions of Americans and people throughout the world. Food poisoning occurs when food infected with bacteria is ingested. People who become infected with food borne organisms might have symptoms ranging from mild cramping and intestinal discomfort to severe nausea and diarrhea, accompanied by dehydration. Depending on the type and severity of the infection, food poisoning can be easily treated or may require hospitalization. In extreme cases, food poisoning can result in death.

Symptoms of food poisoning include: nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain and/or cramping, diarrhea, fever and/or chills, and dehydration. There are hundreds of different diseases that can cause food poisoning. One of the most common forms of food poisoning is caused by bacteria, such as E. coli. E. coli, or Escherichia coli, are bacteria found in the digestive systems of humans and animals. Certain strains of E. coli, when ingested, may cause a person to become very seriously ill.

Most cases of food poisoning from E. Coli occur after eating raw or undercooked beef, or drinking unpasteurized milk. In this hypothetical case, I will discuss the treatment of a patient that has food poisoning from E. Coli bacteria. The first model we will be discussing treatment by will be the Medical Model. The Medical Model generally emphasizes clinical diagnosis and medical intervention to treat diseases, illnesses and/or symptoms. With this model, health is when one is absent of illness and disease.

This model deals with the existing condition of the patient, does not take into account other aspects of the persons life, and generally treats the illness with medication. In the case of food poisoning, using the medical model, medication would be given to treat the symptoms. A patient would be given fluids (through IV if necessary), antibiotics, an anti-nauseant, an anti-diarrheal and a pain medication for aches and fever. This model focuses on diagnosis and treatment, but does little in the way of health promotion and disease prevention.

The next model we will discuss will be the Holistic Health Model. In the view of Holistic Health, a persons well-being is based on their physical, mental, social and spiritual health. Holistic health emphasizes the need for well-being in every aspect of a persons life. This is what is believed to make a person whole and complete. Holistic medicine seeks to treat the whole person, and not just the disease and/or symptoms of the disease. The Holistic Health Model many times encompasses alternative medicine practices. Two forms of treatment used by Holistic practitioners are meditation and acupuncture.

Treatment using this model would encompass: sipping a water and vinegar cocktail for nausea, mixing charcoal with applesauce to remove toxins from the body, drinking ginger-root tea for nausea, or taking Andrographis or Dragon’s Blood herbs. The third model is the Epidemiological Triangle Model. In this model, there are 3 sides to the triangle and the goal of this model is to break one of the sides and stop the continuation of the disease. The three sides of the triangle are: “agent” – the “what”, “host” – the “who”, and “environment” – the “where”.

In this particular case, the “agent” will be the bacteria that caused the food poisoning, which would be E. coli. The “host” will be the person, or group of people, that has the illness and could encompass the symptoms of nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, dehydration and fever. The third side of the triangle is the “environment”, which would be where the E. coli is found. The bacteria is found in the digestive tract of humans and animals, and is spread through feces. Livestock may come into contact with contaminated feces as it is slaughtered.

This infected meat then can make you sick if it is eaten when it is improperly cooked or stored. The goal of the Epidemiological Triangle Model is to break the cycle, and to prevent the repetition of illness. In many cases, vaccines have been developed to break the cycle of illness in the Epidemiological Triangle Model. Some diseases have vaccines, but food poisoning from E. coli does not have a vaccine. This is a difficult condition to treat by this model, since the cycle must be broken on the “environment” side of the triangle.

Education on proper food handling and cooking etiquette, and changes to the way livestock is processed and slaughtered, may be types of of changes that could break the cycle of disease. The last model that we will discuss is the Social Model. In the Social Model, treatment focuses not only on the individual but on the environment as well. Similar to the way the Medical Model would treat the patient, medication would be given to treat symptoms of the illness, but the Social Model of health care goes one step further to take into account environmental factors. Research would be done to determine what environmental factors could be changed.

It would be discovered where the contamination took place, by researching similar cases in the region, and steps would be taken to ensure that the contamination is resolved and people do not continue to get sick. Even though these healthcare models all have different approaches to treating illnesses, they all have the same goal of better health. All models of healthcare work toward treating the patients illness, and increasing a patients health. One or more models may be used to treat illnesses effectively. Models may overlap in some areas, to determine the cause of diseases and their symptoms.

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