Working in Health Promoting Ways: A framework for health and community services (WiHPW) provides all health and community services staff with the policy guidance, knowledge and tools they need to work in health promoting ways.
The framework outlines how we can make Tasmania a state with safe and healthy people, families and communities. This will mean all Tasmanians will have the chance to improve their own health and the health of their families and community. To achieve this we need to improve the social, economic and environmental conditions that help people have greater control over their health and quality of life.
This document provides information about research and literature on health promotion in the Tasmanian context. It is based on wide consultation with health and community services staff, including staff with specific expertise in health promotion, public health, health literacy and the priority areas described below.
The background paper is divided into four sections.
An overview of health promotion
Health promotion enables people to increase control over and improve their health and the social and environmental conditions that determine their health. Health promotion is a growing and evolving field, reflecting the importance placed on developing a sustainable health system into the future. It recognises the root causes of illness and disease and addresses these at an individual, community and population-wide level.
Several key documents that underpin modern health promotion practice are explored in this section. It also discusses how health promotion practice can be applied across the different stages of wellness and disease and gives a brief overview of the health of Tasmanians.
Principles of practice
WiHPW identifies eight principles of practice that are essential for working in health promoting ways. Each principle was developed by combining the evidence for health promotion with practical knowledge gained from practitioners on the ground.
The eight principles of practice.
- Evidence informed practice
- Determinants of health
- Action across the continuum
- Cultural change
- Supportive environments
- Community participation
In this section, each principle is discussed and a checklist is provided to help apply the principles in health and community services.
Health literacy is the ability of a person to find, understand and use health information to make decisions about their health and healthcare. How health systems are set up and how we communicate as healthcare providers can make it easier for people to find, use and understand information and services. Health literacy is important because people who have difficulty understanding health information and what they need to do to look after their health, are more likely to experience poorer health.
Health literacy underpins all the principles of practice and is key to achieving improvement in the priority areas for action.
WiHPW identifies seven priorities for action.
- Promoting physical activity and active communities
- Improving access to nutritious, safe and affordable food
- Promoting mental health and wellbeing
- Reducing use and minimising harm from tobacco, alcohol and other drugs
- Reducing environmental health risks and preventing injury
- Promoting sexual health and wellbeing
- Improving the prevention and management of chronic conditions
These priorities were developed through broad consultation with staff across health and community services in Tasmania.
This consultation process was guided by evidence from the Victorian Department of Human Services publication Health promotion priorities for Victoria: A discussion paper.
Each priority area includes current data about the impact and scale of the issue; the relationship to health inequities; identification of aspects of the priority area that are responsive to change; strategic opportunities for health and community services to create change; and identified stakeholders.