Opportunities for prevention

TAKING the opportunity to give preventative healthcare advice has become the cornerstone of efforts to improve the mental and physical wellbeing of patients across the age spectrum. 

It could take the form of dietary and exercise advice, as in the fight against obesity, in order to prevent diabetes, hypertension and obstructive sleep apnoea, or it may involve discussing behavioural and mental health issues.  

Patients often miss scheduled preventive care visits, but opportunities for giving preventive health advice are often overlooked when a patient attends appointments in the primary-healthcare setting for subacute or even more acute issues. 

One obvious consequence can be a lack of adherence to treatment for chronic conditions, such as inhaled steroids for asthma or insulin for type 1 diabetes. Such patients are ideally managed not only in crisis when they are unwell, but also with regular preventive visits to discuss their